Cabahug wharf resumes operation after capsized cargo vessel towed

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Sunday, May 19, 2013


THE MV Maria Angelica Grace was removed from the Cabahug private wharf in Barangay Looc, Mandaue City last week, allowing the facility to operate again more than two months after the vessel capsized.

Philippine Coast Guard Cebu Station Commander Weniel Azcuna said the Uni Orient Pearl Venture Inc., the firm hired to salvage the vessel, was able to tow the vessel some 200 meters away, after a failed attempt last month.

The wharf resumed its operation last Monday after it was checked and cleared by the Marine Environmental Protection.

The 426-gross-ton ship, which capsized last March 11 while loading cargos, has yet to be refloated in the deeper portion of the Mactan Channel.

Azcuna said the refloating could not be done at the wharf where the waters are shallow.

The vessel, owned by the Repal Inter-Island Shipping Lines, was loaded with five trucks when it capsized after it was hit by strong waves caused by a passing fastcraft.

The trucks were retrieved after the vessel was removed from the wharf. The recovered items, which included the ship’s bow ramp, are now under the custody of the salvaging firm for proper inventory and documentation.

Last month, the firm tried to tow the vessel to a nearby shipyard but failed after the metal chain attached to the vessel snapped.

Aside from the trucks, the ship carried rice, sugar and 8,000 liters of diesel oil when it flipped over past 9 p.m. last March 11.

It was supposed to leave for Masbate Province two hours later.

All 18 crew members managed to safely evacuate the ship.

The Coast Guard immediately surrounded the vessel with oil spill booms to contain the oil leaking out of the vessel.

The salvaging firm later drained the vessel’s oil tank. While the crew reported that the vessel carried 8,000 liters of oil, only 4,000 liters were siphoned off. Azcuna said the rest may have been consumed by the vessel’s engine before it capsized.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 19, 2013.

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