Ship collision spills milk cargo

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Friday, April 1, 2011

LOCAL fishers had a field day retrieving cartons of powdered milk that scattered in the coastal waters off Talisay City following the collision of two vessels yesterday morning.

The retrieved powdered milk came as manna from heaven to Talisay fishermen who have been experiencing dwindling fish catch these past days. They sold these powder-filled milk packs at P50 each.

Several cartons of Bear Brand powdered milk fell into the sea after Mv Superferry 2, a passenger ship of Aboitiz Transport System Co. and mv General Romulo, a cargo vessel of NMC Container Lines, sideswiped each other while simultaneously entering the south entrance of the Mactan Channel near the Lauis Ledge at 5:45 a.m.


The Cebu Coast Guard (CG) received reports that one vessel tried to outdo the other ferry by overtaking, resulting instead in the side collision. Both were heading for Cebu City.

Luckily, none of the 453 passengers of mv Superferry 2 or crew of the two ships was hurt or injured.

At fault

“That’s what we’re going to determine who was really at fault. We’re still waiting for their marine protest,” Cebu CG Chief Rolando Lizor Punzalan Jr. told Sun.Star Cebu at press time yesterday.

Punzalan, who made actual inspections on board both vessels, said mv Superferry 2 sustained substantial damage on its protruding gangplank on the port (left) side.

The impact also damaged two container vans and grazed the mid-starboard (right) side of the 4,028-gross ton mv General Romulo, whose elevation was lower than that of the Aboitiz-owned ferry.

The container vans contained milk products and dry goods.

The mishap forced the cargo vessel to drop anchor while mv Superferry 2 continued its trip and safely docked at Pier 5, Cebu City.

Later in the afternoon, mv General Romulo proceeded to Cebu City and docked between Piers 5 and 6.

The 11,405.16-gross ton mv Superferry 2 came from Nasipit, Agusan del Norte and was supposed to leave for Manila past 9 a.m., while mv General Romulo hailed from Cagayan de Oro City.

The incident occurred while 45-year-old Renato Abellana was fishing aboard his motorized boat in the coastal waters off Talisay City, barely 500 meters away from the scene.

Sensing danger prior to the collision, Abellana tried to leave the place, only to return later after seeing cartons fall from the 20-foot container van of mv General Romulo.


The cartons drew attention from local fishers as the items were seen floating in the coastal waters off Barangays Tanke, Cansojong and Poblacion.

Abellana salvaged at least seven cartons, probably the most among his peers.

Each carton contains 30 packs of 800-gram powdered milk whose market price is P84 per pack. But the fishermen merely sold it at P50 each in the neighborhood.

Another fisherman Ramon Pugoy told radio dyAB he earned P2,000 out of the five cartons of powdered milk that he recovered.

Pugoy said the “extra” income was good enough for his family’s daily sustenance in the next few days, as he only had a kilo of fish catch yesterday.

Meanwhile, Punzalan said the two vessels will not leave port pending the outcome of the CG investigation based on their submitted marine protest.

The marine protest contains the accounts of the ship captains – Richard Alferado of mv Superferry 2 and Bonifacio Tan of mv General Romulo – on the circumstances leading to the sea accident, he said.

The Maritime Industry Authority will also conduct safety inspection to determine and certify the seaworthiness of the vessels to leave port, Punzalan said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 01, 2011.

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