Passengers panic as ferry drifts-A A +A
Saturday, March 16, 2013
A PASSENGER vessel headed for Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island went adrift for more than an hour when its engine conked out late yesterday afternoon.
About 75 passengers of mv Super Shuttle Ferry 14 of Asian Marine Transport Corp. panicked when they encountered big waves and strong winds at sea but no one was reported hurt.
Cebu Coast Guard Commander Weniel Azcuna said the ship departed from Hagnaya Port in the northern Cebu town of San Remigio at 4:30 p.m. and experienced engine trouble 15 minutes later.
"Nag-overheat ang makina maong nihunong (The engine overheated and conked out)," Azcuna told Sun.Star Cebu.
The 15 crew and officers of the ship tried to fix the engine. They were able to restart it but it was not able to run at full power.
It's sister vessel, mv Super Shuttle Ferry 23, arrived at 5:30 p.m. to escort the 90-gross ton ship back to Hagnaya Port.
The vessel docked at Hagnaya at 7:30 p.m. but it has been grounded pending an inquiry on its seaworthiness.
It cannot sail unless given certificate or permission from Maritime Industry Authority, Azcuna said.
One of the passengers, lawyer Rey Gialon, told Sun.Star Cebu that the crew did not advise them what to do.
"They didn't even tell us to wear life jackets. We made the initiative," he said.
Gialon, a councilor in Argao and former broadcast reporter, said the crew were blaming each other.
Gialon, who was traveling with his family and household staff, said the sea was rough and the passengers got scared.
He added that some of the passengers who were seated below deck moved up as seawater had entered the ship.
Gialon said he was supposed to have a vacation in Sta. Fe with his family but they had to cancel it. "Ang mga bata nako nag-sige og suka (My kids vomited several times)," he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 16, 2013.