PCG reveals ill-fated MV Mercraft 2 carried 157 passengers, crew

Published May 25, 2022, 2:37 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

There were a total of 157 passengers and crew members aboard the MV Mercraft 2 when it caught fire while sailing in Real, Quezon last May 23.

MV Mercraft 2 catches fire while sailing at sea in Real, Quezon on May 23, 2022. (Courtesy of Philippine Coast Guard)

This was revealed by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Wednesday, May 25, clarifying its initial report that the fast craft vessel was only carrying 134 individuals.

“According to the PCG Station Northern Quezon, the data gathered during the investigation yesterday, May 24, 2022, revealed that there were 157 individuals onboard the distressed vessel instead of 134 individuals as earlier reported,” the PCG said in a press statement.

The PCG said it was investigating whether the additional 23 passengers were not included in the passengers’ list of MV Mercraft 2 when it sailed.

Still, the vessel could not be declared as overloaded since it has a capacity of 180 persons, the PCG said.

The PCG said the cause of fire remained “under investigation” as of this writing.

Part of the probe is whether or not there were sufficient number of life jackets for the passengers.

“It was not overloaded but it was a fire incident and as we know, probably they just opted to jump off the vessel without getting the life jackets,” said PCG spokesperson Commodore Armando Balilo.

“Based on the testimonies and videos, the fire spread quickly and there was an immediate need to evacuate the passengers,” he added.

Out of the 157 individuals, seven passengers died, 29 were injured, and 121 others were unharmed.