Ferry narrowly escapes crash in Cebu-A A +A
Thursday, December 8, 2011
CEBU CITY – More than 200 passengers were shaken, but unharmed, when the ferry they were on hit a cable that anchored a barge near the Bantolinao Point in Lapu-Lapu City at 2:47 a.m. Wednesday.
The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) in Central Visayas suspended the operation of the mv Lite Ferry 8 of Lite Shipping Corp. and Barge Iron Man 1 of Treasure Steelworks Corp.
The Coast Guard also ordered the barge moved from the accident site to Pier 4, to prevent similar mishaps. Authorities classified the accident as an “allision.” (It’s a collision if both objects are moving, but in this case, the barge was still.)
Lawyer Jose Cabatingan, Marina regional legal officer and spokesman, said the suspension of the Passenger Ship Safety Certificate (PSSC) of mv Lite Ferry 8 and the Cargo Ship Safety Certificate (CSSC) of Barge Iron Man 1 is a standard procedure of Marina.
It will remain in effect until both vessels are inspected and found safe by the Marina.
Lite Shipping Corp. blamed the barge for the incident, because it was anchored in the passing lane of other vessels. It also allegedly had no light or a tugboat that could have dragged it out of harm’s way.
In a marine protest, mv Lite Ferry 8 Captain Sergio Herodias said the vessel departed from Ormoc City at 10:07 p.m. last December 6, bound for Cebu City.
When they approached the vicinity of Bantolinao lighthouse and entered the North Channel of Cebu, they were surprised to see a huge unlighted dumb barge (a barge with no tugboat) in their passing lane about 30 meters away.
Herodias ordered the crew to stop the engine and turn hard right to avoid a collision.
Unfortunately, he said, the mv Lite Ferry 8 got tangled with the cable the barge used to anchor itself.
Lite Shipping assistant vice president for operations Oliver Pulanco and chief operating officer Fernando Inting said there would have been no accident had the Barge Iron Man 1 was not anchored in the vessel lane, without lights or a tugboat.
In a text message, Lucio Lim Jr., president and CEO of Lite Shipping Corp., said the dumb barge was “irresponsibly” anchored without any light in the passing lane near the Bantolinao lighthouse.
Lim also corrected earlier reports that all the 220 passengers were rescued because there was no rescue at all. The mv Lite Ferry 8 proceeded to dock safely at the berthing area designated by the Cebu Port Authority.
Cebu Coast Guard Commander Rolando Punzalan said his personnel are investigating the incident.
The Coast Guard received a call about 3 a.m. Wednesday informing them about the allision.
Punzalan said he immediately dispatched the SARV-3504 for a rescue operation, but the mv Ferry Lite 8 informed them they maneuvered just in time to prevent serious damage to the vessel.
The Coast Guard also showed Sun.Star Cebu a marine protest filed by Roland Hinojales, the tugboat master of the barge.
Hinojales stated in the marine protest that mv Lite Ferry 8 vessel hit the barge’s anchor cable at 2:41 a.m. He said it damaged the anchor roller and slightly damaged the cable as well.
By 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Punzalan directed the Iron Man 1 moved from the area to Pier 4, to prevent further accidents.
Marina is investigating the incident in accordance with Republic Act 9295 and its implementing rules and regulations, in relation to the Ship Safety Inspection System and Marina Memorandum Circular No. 152.
Marina-Central Visayas officer-in-charge Maristel Letigio signed the suspension orders on behalf of Director Nanette Villamor-Dinopol, who is in Japan. (EOB/With JBT of Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 08, 2011.