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2Go Travel Ship Collided with Passenger Vessel

Friday, August 16, 2013
CEBU CITY (8th Update) -- A passenger vessel sank off Talisay City, Cebu after colliding with a cargo vessel Friday evening, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported.
Coast Guard station commander Weniel Azcuna said they received the distress call around 9 p.m. Friday, adding that rescue operation is ongoing.
He said the vessels involved are M/V Saint Thomas Aquinas of 2Go Travel bound for Cebu from Nasipit, Agusan del Norte, and M/V Sulpicio Express 7, which is bound for Davao.
Azcuna said the PCG dispatched a rescue team to the area. He said the Philippine Navy also sent its personnel, while some commercial vessels are helping in the ongoing rescue operation.
Waterfront Police Chief Inspector Wildemar Tiu said 644 adults, 24 minors, and 55 infants were onboard M/V Saint Thomas Aquinas, for a total of 723 passengers. The skipper of the ship was Captain Bermejo.
M/V Sulpicio Express Siete, on the other hand, had 36 crew, initial reports said.
As of this posting, some survivors are already in Talisay City, while others were brought to the Cebu City port area. Others were rushed to the Talisay City District Hospital and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center.
Some of them said they were given life jackets, and tugboats were inflated but it was too dark at sea.
Adela Guevarra, one of the passengers, said she and her son, 4, were forced to jump to the sea as M/V St. Thomas Aquinas sank.
Another survivor said some children and elders might still be trapped inside the passenger vessel.
Mildred Lumapas, two-months pregnant, said she heard a loud bang after the cargo ship collided with the 2Go Travel vessel.
She said it only took 10 minutes before the M/V Saint Thomas Aquinas sank.
Lumapas was rescued by the fisherfolk of Kilawan, Tangke along nine other survivors, namely: Domingo Mantilla of Butuan; Janley Ellera of San Juan, Bayugan; Gemma Domino of Alipay, Hinoog City; Glenda Abanella of Quezon City; Florenda Maghuyop of Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte; Rosanna Lamanilao of Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte; Normeley Sombreo of Surigao, Agusan Del Norte; Gloria Cabudbod of Bato, Leyte; and a boy.
Lumapas said she already called her mother about what happened.
Other survivors said they were given life jackets, and tugboats were inflated but it was too dark at sea.
Adela Guevarra, one of the passengers, said she and her son, 4, were forced to jump to the sea as M/V St. Thomas Aquinas sank.
Another survivor said some children and elders might still be trapped inside the passenger vessel.
Perla Cabanes, captain of Barangay Tangke in Talisay City, said they immediately reached the shore in search for survivors after receiving reports of the collision.
A rescuer of the Basak Pardo Emergency Response team said Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama told them to bring the survivors to the City Hall.
More than 30 survivors were also housed in Sitio Salvador chapel.
The M/V Saint Thomas Aquinas is 138 meters in length and 22 meters wide. It has a gross tonnage of 11,405 and with maximum recorded speed of 17.3 knots.
The M/V Sulpicio Express Siete, on the other hand, is a general cargo ship that was built in 1981. It is 146 meters in length and 21 meters wide, with maximum recorded speed of 5.8 knots. (LRM/JAC/Sunnex)
 Source: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/breaking-news/2013/08/16/passenger-cargo-vessels-collide-cebu-298256

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