Cokaliong vessel runs aground in Iloilo; passengers safe

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A VESSEL of Cokaliong Shipping Lines with over 200 passengers onboard ran aground Tuesday, August 9, 2022, in the waters between Igbon Island and Agho Island in Concepcion, Iloilo.

The skipper of M/V Filipinas Cebu, Captain Alexander Wahing, 57, assured though that the 223 passengers and 38 crew onboard, including him, were safe and free from injury, said the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in an incident report posted on its Facebook page.

The 223 passengers disembarked safely, the report added.

The passengers were transferred to a sister vessel M/V Filipinas Nasipit, which ferried them to Cebu. They arrived in Cebu City at 3:25 a.m. Wednesday, August 10.

Investigation revealed that the roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) vessel departed Port San Pedro Pier in Iloilo City at 7:14 p.m. of August 8 bound for Cebu City when the grounding happened at 12:08 a.m. Tuesday, August 9.

What caused the incident is still under investigation, but the PCG said in the report that the helmsman (person who steers the ship) reportedly fell asleep, causing the vessel to run aground.

The crew inspected the hull for possible ingress of seawater and yielded negative result. This negative result was confirmed by the PCG’s Marine Environmental Protection Unit, which also conducted an assessment for possible traces of oil spill.

The PCG said that personnel of its sub-station in Concepcion arrived at the grounding site around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, August 8, to check on the condition of the passengers and crew.

The BRP Panglao was also dispatched to the area to help, while the Bureau of Customs deployed a fast boat with two Coast Guard Special Operations Unit personnel onboard to assist in the operation.

The Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office of Concepcion also responded to the incident.

The PCG advised the vessel’s master to file a marine protest. (LMY)