CEBU CITY (Updated) -- Strong winds and water current caused three passenger-cargo vessels to run aground in the vicinity of Lapu-Lapu City and in Danahon, Bohol one hour after another Thursday dawn.
No one was reported hurt.
Mardon Martin, marine specialist of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), identified the three vessels as M/V Joyful Star of Roble Shipping Lines, cargo ship M/V Subic Bay 1 of Carlos A. Gothong Shipping Lines, and passenger vessel M/V Our Lady of All Nations of Medallion Shipping.
At 11:21 p.m. Wednesday, a passenger cargo vessel carrying 237 passengers ran aground in Barangay Ibo, Lapu-Lapu City.
M/V Joyful Star of Roble Shipping Lines was carrying 72 crew members and 237 passengers when it stopped near Bantolinao Point in Ibo.
Cebu Coast Guard Commander Rodulfo Villajuan said that after receiving the report at 12:50 a.m., they immediately sent out rubber boats and a vessel to rescue the passengers.
M/V Joyful Star left Maasin, Leyte at 3 p.m. Wednesday and was scheduled to arrive at the Cebu Port Thursday dawn, said Villajuan. Instead, the passengers were brought by rescuers to the nearby Porters Yacht Club in Liloan town.
An hour after M/V Joyful Star ran aground, the Our Lady of All Nation vessel of Medallion Shipping also ran aground in Danahon, Bohol around 12:20 a.m. Thursday. It was carrying 90 passengers.
The vessel left Bato, Leyte at 9 p.m. Wednesday, and was scheduled to arrive in Cebu City Thursday dawn.
Two hours later, another cargo vessel, the M/V Subic Bay 1 of Gothong Shipping Lines, marooned on a shallow area off Lapu-Lapu City.
The cargo vessel left Nasipit, Leyte at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) has reported that a low pressure area (LPA) has been spotted in Eastern Visayas and its winds and rains have reached other parts of the Visayas. If the LPA strengthens, it can develop into a typhoon.
Pagasa has warned that strong to gale force winds are expected to affect the seaboards of Luzon, Visayas and Caraga region.
M/V Subic Bay and M/V Joyful Star were approaching the Marcelo Fernan Bridge when they hit shore and got stuck there. Marina, through Director Nannette Villamor Dinopol, has suspended the operation of all vessels pending underground inspection and a re-audit to determine its seaworthiness after the incident.
The order is a standard operating procedure of Marina, which prohibits the vessels from sailing without clearance from the agency.
Meanwhile, Andy Berame, operations director of the Lapu-Lapu City Coastal Law Enforcement Task Force, said there are few corals in the area where two vessels ran aground.
“It’s a sea grass area and it’s silted,” Berame told Sun.Star Cebu.
He said there is no cause for alarm for residents and fishermen in Barangay Ibo.
Berame said the vessels should be removed from the area as soon as possible as they pose hazard to navigation. (JTR/EOB/RSB/Sun.Star Cebu)