Engine trouble spoils ferry’s return journey

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Sunday, October 14, 2012


CEBU CITY -- One of the vessels of Trans Asia Shipping Lines, on the day it resumed its Cebu-Iloilo-Cebu route after a mandatory dry-docking, suffered engine trouble in the Mactan Channel.

Its nearly 200 passengers were stranded but unharmed.

Acting Administrator Nicasio Conti ordered the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) in Central Visayas Region under Nanette Villamor Dinopol to look into the matter. A dry-docked ship is not allowed to sail again without the mandatory inspection and audit by authorized Marina personnel.

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Captain Rolando Punzalan, chief of the Coast Guard District Cebu, said that MV Asia Philippines left Pier 4, Cebu City for Iloilo at 6 p.m. last October 12.

It had 190 passengers, 34 crew members and six ancillaries at the time.
It was the first day the MV Asia Philippines resumed its commercial voyage since this was dry-docked and cleared by Marina inspectors and auditors to sail.

But it suffered engine trouble at 6:45 p.m. near the first Mactan-Mandaue Bridge.

Dinopol said that at the time of inspection, MV Asia Philippines was found operational and it functioned properly during its sea trial. The shipping company also complied with requirements like a compass compensation certificate and class certificate.

Last October 7, MV Trans Asia 5 suffered engine trouble near Shell Island while MV Trans Asia 3 ran out of fuel while approaching Cebu City the next day.

That prompted Conti to suspend the operations of all ships of Trans Asia Shipping Lines so these could be inspected to ensure their seaworthiness.
Conti told Sun.Star Cebu that the case of MV Asia Philippines is different because it was recently dry-docked.

“Maybe this thing did not happen during sea trial or break-in before the ship was allowed to resume commercial operations,” Conti said.

Kenneth Sy, chief executive officer of Trans Asia, said that MV Asia Philippines will be inspected and audited again by Marina on Monday, and it will resume commercial voyages once given a clean bill.

Sy said the ship’s engine was back to normal and in good condition, and the vessel proceeded to Pier 4 by itself, but escorted by a tugboat.

Trans Asia Human Resource Manager Abner Llenos said all the passengers were taken care of and about 117 passengers have already asked for refunds of their tickets.

Dinopol said she has instructed her officials to review the inspection procedures before MV Asia Philippines was allowed to resume operations. (EOB of Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 14, 2012.

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