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Ferry stalls shortly after leaving Coron Port

["https:\/\/\/story.php\/49898","Ferry stalls shortly after leaving Coron Port","RNNationwide"]
PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan – A vessel operated by 2GO resumed its journey Sunday morning after nearly a day of being stranded barely a nautical mile from the Port of Coron.
MV St. Francis Xavier, ferrying nearly 1,400 passengers to Puerto Princesa, encountered a generator malfunction shortly after departure Saturday, leading to an unexpected halt.
One of the passengers, Bert Jeric Zeta, preferred to disembark rather than continue the trip, fearing further complications.
Traveling with his family, Zeta told the Philippine News Agency in a phone conversation that the vessel dropped anchor just after leaving the pier around 3 p.m. on Saturday and eventually got stuck in a reef.
The crew, he narrated, told them that there was going to be a repair that would only take around 30 minutes to one hour. But as minutes turned into hours without further information, his frustration grew.
Zeta recounted a night aboard the stranded vessel, marked by heat that affected all passengers, especially children and the elderly.
As the temperature inside the ship increased, the vulnerable groups suffered, grappling with conditions that made rest nearly impossible.
The heat forced many passengers to seek relief by sleeping on the sundeck with foam pads, a respite cut short by rain, driving them back inside into stifling conditions.
"It seems the crew was not fully prepared to address our needs, especially the vulnerable like children and the elderly," Zeta added.
Passengers were given dinner but no provisions for breakfast the next day.
Another passenger, Ernie Caballas, commented on the provisioning efforts, saying a small boat brought them bread but it was hardly enough for the people on board.
The problems went beyond mere discomfort, as Caballas called on 2GO management to review and improve their emergency response protocols.
"I hope 2GO management will improve their emergency response in times like this. The children and seniors here are suffering. They should have emergency ventilation in the deck for good airflow. Toilets have no water now; later, it will be a problem," he claimed.
Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) District Palawan Commander Captain Dennis Labay confirmed the incident, noting that Coast Guard personnel had been on-site since the previous night to assess the vessel for structural damages.
"Our teams confirmed the ship's hull remains intact, with no leaks detected," Labay remarked, adding that a thorough inspection and a certificate of seaworthiness from the Maritime Industry Authority are mandatory before the ship can resume its journey.
Compounding the ship's woes, it was caught in a low tide, exacerbating the grounding.
Power was eventually restored by late evening, yet the ship remained immobile, with its stern stuck in corals.
The PCG also reported that members of the Marine Environmental Protection Unit alongside other coast guard personnel were continuously monitoring the situation to prevent any environmental damage.
Attempts to contact the vessel's management were unsuccessful. (PNA)

Last Modified: 2024-Jun-10 15.00.00 UTC+0800