45 people rescued after ship catches fire near Cebu City

MV Filipinas-Dinagat as it was engulfed in fire. Photo: Philippine Coast Guard/FB
MV Filipinas-Dinagat as it was engulfed in fire. Photo: Philippine Coast Guard/FB

Forty-five people were rescued by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) after their passenger vessel caught fire shortly after leaving Cebu City last night.

MV Filipinas Dinagat left Pier 1 in Cebu City at about 7pm bound for Palompon, Leyte, the PCG said in a report released today. The ship, owned by Cokaliong Shipping Lines, caught fire three hours later.

Read: Philippine Transport Department eyes use of ships as ‘floating quarantine hospitals’

When the PCG arrived to rescue the passengers at 10:45 pm, the vessel was totally engulfed in flames. The passengers were then transferred to a motorized boat and 41 of them were brought to Danao Port, where they received medical treatment. The ship’s captain, Joel Villanueva, and three of his crew members remained within the vicinity of the burned-out ship to provide assistance to the authorities.

“The shipowner reported that all passengers and ship crew aboard MV Filipinas Dinagat were safe and all accounted for, hence the declaration of a ‘zero-casualty’ maritime incident,” the PCG said.

The ship, currently located 3.2 nautical miles east off Manlibot Point, remained on fire as of 7:30am today. The authorities continue to monitor the situation.

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