CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – A Cebu-bound ship with hundreds of passengers aboard had to turn back to Cagayan de Oro after tilting dangerously on its left side apparently due to strong winds on the waters off Laguindingan town in Misamis Oriental on Sunday night, November 12.
The vessel, M/V Filipinas Cagayan de Oro, operated by Cokaliong Shipping Lines, safely made it back to the port of Cagayan de Oro around 11:21 pm, where it was met by ships of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
PCG spokesperson Rear Admiral Armando Balilo said all 448 passengers were safe and were assisted by Coast Guard personnel as they disembarked from the listing ship at the port of Cagayan de Oro.
Over DXIF-Bombo Radyo, Balilo said the ship was en route to Cebu City from Cagayan de Oro on its regular route when it was buffeted by strong winds off Laguindingan town.
He said the ship, which was in constant communication with the Coast Guard Station in Cagayan de Oro, reported a 30-degree listing to the portside.
“It was advised not to proceed to Cebu and to return to the port of Cagayan de Oro,” Balilo said.
He said they were considering the likelihood that the ship’s dangerous tilt resulted from improperly secured rolling cargoes on board.
Shaken passengers posted on Facebook that they heard loud thumping from the cargo hold below the ship before it tilted.
One of the passengers, Rex Orsal from Mandaue City, Cebu, said it was an hour after the vessel left Cagayan de Oro port when it was buffeted by strong winds.
“The crew helped us put down the tarp to protect the passengers,” Orsal told Radyo Bandera in Cagayan de Oro.
Most of the passengers were seen donning orange life vests when the ship docked in Cagayan de Oro port.
Balilo said they have asked the Maritime Safety Services Command to investigate the incident and check the safety procedures and protocols followed by the ship crew.
“This is to assure the public that we value the safety of the passengers and aim to prevent incidents like this, especially now that the Christmas season is approaching and maritime traffic is increasing,” Balilo said.
It wasn’t the first time a ship operated by Cokaliong Shipping Lines, which regularly plies the seas between Visayas and Mindanao, has been involved in accidents like this.
On October 23, 2023, M/V Filipinas Butuan, operated by the same shipping company, ran aground in Santa Fe town in Bantayan Island, Cebu.
On April 20, 2023, 85 passengers of another Cokaliong ship, M/V Filipinas Cebu, were rescued by fishermen when it ran aground in Maigo Point in Lanao del Norte while heading to Ozamiz City. – Rappler.com