Ship sinks off private wharf-A A +A
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
A DOCKED cargo vessel capsized off the Cabahug private wharf in Barangay Looc, Mandaue City late Monday night, after heavy waves hit it while a truck was being unloaded.
Five eight-wheeler wing van cargo containers loaded with rice and sugar also sank together with the mv Maria Angelica Grace, a roll-on roll-off ship of the Manila-based Rapal Shipping Lines.
Wilson Dieta, the ship captain, said the accident happened at 9:45 p.m. when the 416-gross-ton ship lost its balance after a fast craft whizzed by.
Because of the waves left in the craft’s wake, the Angelica Grace tilted to its side and the ropes that tethered it broke under its weight.
No one was injured. The 18 crew members, including Dieta, the truck drivers and laborers, evacuated before the ship gradually sank.
Cebu Coast Guard Commander Weniel Azcuna told Sun.Star Cebu they are still investigating Dieta’s report and getting records of vessels that departed around that time.
The mishap might be traced to bad loading procedures, since other vessels docked in the wharf were not affected by any waves.
“We are still also getting the damage to property because it’s only the owners who know it,” he said.
The ship, which plies the Masbate Province-Mandaue City route, was supposed to depart at 11 p.m. Its hull remains visible near the wharf.
Azcuna said he dispatched a team at midnight to put up oil spill booms around the vessel in case the fuel will leak.
“There are still 8,000 liters of fuel stored in the fuel tank and that’s dangerous,” he said.
As of yesterday, there were minor leaks but the oil spill had been confined and siphoned off.
Azcuna said he gave a demand letter to Salvador Rafal, the shipping line’s owner, to hire an accredited professional for the salvage operation.
“I demand it as soon as possible because the ship is now considered a hazard to navigation,” he said.
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, in a separate interview, said he will call on companies who can help extract any oil spilled.
Cortes said he will consult the Coast Guard and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to check on the damage, particularly since there are fishing grounds nearby.
A spill boom was placed around the capsized vessel to prevent the oil from spreading.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 13, 2013.