Around 130 passengers and seven crew members of mv Sunriser 2 were rescued after the vessel confronted big waves and strong winds in the waters north of Olango Island, Lapu-Lapu City on Saturday morning, June 29, 2019.
Bonifacio Dayangco, captain of the Cordova Inter-island Shipping Lines Inc. vessel, didn’t want to endanger his passengers.
“We left the port of Cordova at around 8:18 a.m. bound for Getafe, Bohol. However, on our way there, we were greeted by big waves and strong winds. That’s when I decided to anchor our vessel and ask for the Coast Guard’s rescue. It was an emergency discharge of passengers,” said Dayangco.
Lt. Junior Grade Michael John Encina, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) 7 spokesman, said they received the distress call at 9:27 a.m.
“In that encounter, it depends upon the call of the captain because he is the chief mate. If he believes that he could not continue his voyage because of weather disturbances, then definitely he should take shelter and we laud the decision of Capt. Bonifacio Dayangco when he decided to take shelter to ensure the safety of his passengers and his crew,” he said.
Encina elucidated that mv Sunriser 2 underwent and passed the pre-departure inspection.
“Definitely, the PCG conducted pre-departure inspection to inspect their certificate of sea worthiness,” he said.
Encinda added mv Sunriser 2 was not overloaded. There was also no warning or sail advisory from the weather bureau Pagasa before the vessel left port.
“Overall, we checked all of the necessary documents, including their compliance with safety regulations, to make sure they have the required life vests and to ensure that they are not overloading. Mv Sunriser 2 underwent and passed this process and there was no derangement in that vessel,” he stated.
“It just happened that we were not expecting the sudden weather disturbance. You can’t see the rough conditions until you’re way out into the sea. The water between Olango and Mactan Island was still calm,” Encina recalled.
Members of the PCG 7 rescued the passengers in three batches: 55 in the first batch, 30 in the second batch and the remainder in the third batch. The passengers were taken to the Hilton port in Lapu-Lapu City, where they received medical attention, Encina added.
Dayangco said they were coordinating with the Maritime Industry Authority on what to do next. “We are still waiting for their advice. It’s either the passengers will be given a refund or they will be scheduled for a new trip on the following day,” he concluded.