PCG rescues all passengers, crew of MV Asia RoRo vessel that caught fire in waters off Batangas




Courtesy Philippine Coast Guard Facebook

 

(Eagle News) – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has rescued the 47 passengers and 38 crew members of the MV Asia Philippines which caught fire in waters off Batangas Friday evening, August 26.

The PCG said at around noon of Saturday, August 27, that all the passengers and crew of the ship have already been accounted for.

Before this, the PCG was still looking for two reported missing persons. But it also raised the possibility that they have either been already rescued, or there was a double entry in the list of names aboard the RORO (roll on roll-off) vessel.

A joint team of the PCG, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Special Operations Unit of Southern Tagalog were dispatched to verify the status of the two missing passengers.
They left for the Batangas Anchorage area to inspect the MV Asia Philippines at around 8 in the morning, August 27.

As of 12:40 p.m., the PCG said in an update that “all passengers and crew have been accounted for.”

“The joint team confirmed that the two allegedly missing passengers took the 5pm, and not the 3pm vessel trip,” said the PCG update posted on its Facebook page.

The PCG team led by PCG Station Batangas Commander, CG Captain Vic Acosta, said all 16 rolling cargoes remained intact or undamaged onboard. There were also no traces of oil spill or oil sheen in the vessel’s vicinity.

The BFP, PNP, and Special Operations Unit – Southern Tagalog are also assisting in the vessel inspection.

The management of Starlite Ferries, Inc., which operates the RoRo, estimated that 16,000 liters of automotive diesel oil were stored in the fuel tank.

Courtesy Philippine Coast Guard Facebook

The ferry caught fire about one nautical mile (1.85 kilometres) from shore, early Friday evening, August 26.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

The ship had sailed from the port of Calapan on nearby Mindoro island in mid-afternoon with 48 passengers, 34 crew members and 16 motor vehicles on board, the coast guard said.

The vessel is authorised to carry 402 passengers, it added.

MV Asia Philippines departed from the Port of Calapan in Oriental Mindoro en route to Batangas Port at about 3 p.m. on Friday.

By 6 p.m., the Coast Guard Station (CGS) Batangas was radioed by the Vessel Traffic Management System – Batangas, informing them of a fire incident.

The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, is plagued by poor sea transport, with its badly regulated boats prone to overcrowding and accidents.

 

(Eagle News Service with a report from Agence France-Presse)



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