At least 15 passengers on board Lite Ferry 26, a roll on-roll off vessel of Lite Shipping Corporation, were rescued on Friday afternoon after seawater entered the vessel while on its way to Tubigon from Cebu.
Lite Ferry 26 departed Ouano Wharf in Mandaue City at 12 p.m. and was expected to arrive Tubigon at 4:30 p.m.
However, the Cebu Station of the Philippine Coast Guard received a call at past 1 p.m. yesterday from Lite Ferry 26, reporting that waters have entered the vessel.
According to the crew of Lite Ferry 26, huge waves kept on slamming against the vessel while traversing the seas between Bohol and Cebu.
The ramp then opened “after being repeatedly slammed by huge waves and strong wind”.
Lite Ferries sent tugboats to respond and rescue the passengers.
By past 4 p.m., the boat crew had started facilitating the transfer of passengers to the rescue vessel and brought them to their destination.
No one was injured during the incident while the troubled Lite Shipping vessel altered course and reached Mandaue later on the same day, authorities said.
Based on monitoring conducted by international ship captain Jun Mendez, the seas yesterday amid typhoon ‘Paolo’ were indeed rough with wave height of up to 7 meters.
Harsh sea conditions were caused by a “strong gale force” which made it unsafe for sea travel for any type of vessel, Mendez said.
In the morning yesterday, the Philippine Coast Guard-Cebu Station already prohibited vessels with gross tonnage below 250 to sail due to the gale warning issued by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Agency (Pagasa).
PAGASA issued the gale warning yesterday due to rough seas, with waves reaching up to 5.4 meters in height around Negros, Bohol, Siquijor, Samar provinces, Leyte, and Zamboanga del Norte. (with a report from Allen Doydora)