Passenger ship catches fire off Cebu waters

July 25, 2020
MV Filipinas Dinagat
HUGE DAMAGE —Fire razes the Cebu-based Cokaliong Shipping Lines’ MV Filipinas Dinagat, off the waters of Catmon, Cebu while en route to Palompon, Leyte on July 23, 2020. The shipping firm reported "huge damage" but said the captain and 47 crew members were all accounted for. Photo courtesy of Ormoc's Online Top Diary Facebook page

CEBU CITY – A Cebu-based shipping firm has reported “huge damage” from the fire incident involving one of its ships, the MV Filipinas Dinagat, that occurred off the waters in northern Cebu on Thursday night.

Chesna Cokaliong, chief of staff of the Cokaliong Shipping Lines, said on Friday that an investigation is underway to find out the cause of the fire that razed the passenger ship off Catmon town.

While the amount of the damage is yet to be known, Cokaliong estimated a huge loss, saying the ship’s engine was brand new and some facilities were undergoing renovation.

It was carrying some cargoes that were also affected, she added.

“The good thing is that there are no casualties and all of our crew are safe,” she told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview, adding that no passengers were aboard the ship during the fire.

It was the first fire incident recorded by the company in its 30 years of operation, Cokaliong said, adding that they have yet to survey the ship before deciding on whether to renovate it after the incident.

The captain and all 47 crew members of MV Filipinas Dinagat had managed to abandon the ship to safety, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) 7 (Central Visayas) said.

Commander Alvin Dagalea, the spokesperson of PCG-7, said the ship left Pier 1 in Cebu City at 7 p.m. on Thursday bound for Palompon town in Leyte.

At about 10 p.m., the PCG-7 received a distress call, informing them that the ship was burning.

Authorities immediately sent the BRP Suluan (MV-4406) to the area to rescue the ship’s crew members, Dagalea said.

According to PCG-7, 95 percent of the ship was razed by the fire. PNA