The Cebu Station of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) still had to determine who was at fault in the collision of the "St. Braquiel" with the barge "SMC Barge No. 8" in the night of Feb 18, 2017, in the Mactan Channel that injured 49 persons, amid claims that one of the two vessels involved in the incident traversed the channel without its lights on.
Until Feb 19, they were still establishing if any of the two vessels — the ferry of SuperCat Fast Ferry Corp. of 2Go Shipping and the barge of the San Miguel Corp. — went beyond the 5 knots speed limit for Mactan Channel when they collided past 10 p.m.
The "St. Braquiel", which came from Ormoc City, was heading towards the port in Cebu City when it hit a barge owned by SMC that was being towed by the tug "Matatag" of the Philmarine Service Corp. (PSC).
The 49 injured passengers were rescued by vessels owned by SuperCat and were brought to Pier 4 in Cebu City past midnight, where they were treated of their injuries by waiting emergency personnel from the Cebu City government and from the volunteer group Emergency Response Rescue Foundation (ERUF).
The 45 passengers who sustained minor injuries were sent home after getting treatment while four persons, including MV St. Braquiel’s skipper, Reniero Maurin, needed to be hospitalized.
The 292.5-ton passenger vessel had 90 passengers on board, or just over a third of its carrying capacity of 247 passengers.
Based on the initial investigation, the "SMC Barge No. 8" was traveling at 2.8 knots when the incident happened. PCG personnel who checked the "SMC Barge No. 8" that was docked at Ouano Wharf in Mandaue City on Feb 19 saw that the port side aft of the barge was damaged. There were cases of beer and empty bottles seen inside the barge. The 1302.64-gross ton barge, which is 80 meters in length, left Estancia, Iloilo at 5 p.m. on Feb 18and was scheduled to arrive around 10 p.m. of the same day in Cebu. The ferry, listing to starboard side, docked at the Mactan Shipyard on Feb 19.
The skippers of the two vessels were expected to submit their respective marine protest by 10 p.m. to determine who was responsible for the mishap, The general manager of SuperCat, Lito Salvio, in a text message sent to Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, has claimed that the SMC barge was unlighted when the incident happened. The "St. Braquiel" had entered Mactan Channel and was about 500 meters from the Marcelo Fernan Bridge heading for the Cebu City port when the vessel’s crew sighted the stern light of a tugboat.
Report with photo:
2Go passenger ferry with 90 passengers meets accident as it approaches Cebu City port - CEBU CITY—At least 58 ship passengers were injured when their vessel collided with a barge on the Mactan Channel past 10 p.m. last night.
The vessel, MV St. Braquiel owned by the shipping firm 2Go, crashed into a barge carrying empty cases and bottles of beer and was being towed to port.
St. Braquiel was bound for this city from Ormoc City in Leyte province. First aid responders were sent to Mactan’s Pier 4 to provide immediate treatment to the wounded passengers.
The ferry was carrying 90 passengers and 11 crewmen when it collided with the barge.
A passenger, Fredamae Bereso, recalled watching a Korean drama on board the business class section of St. Braquiel while waiting for the vessel to dock at Pier 4 here around 10 p.m. on Saturday.
She was jolted by a loud thud while the vessel was approaching the first Mandaue-Mactan Bridge on the Mactan Channel, which separates Cebu from Mactan Island.
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