35 hurt following Mactan Channel collision

About 35 passengers were injured as the fast craft they were on collided with a cargo vessel at the Mactan Channel in Cebu were injured on Sunday.

A Philippine Coast Guard incident report said MV St. Jhudiel experienced a steering and engine failure while in the vicinity of the first Cebu-Mactan bridge.

Reports said there were no fatalities in the sea mishap.

M/V St. Jhudiel was said to be on its way to Pier 1 from Ormoc City while LCT Poseidon 23 was on its way to Ormoc City from Ouano Wharf in Mandaue City. The cargo vessel had 17 rolling cargoes and 20 passengers on board, the PCG said.

In a Facebook post of netizen Sio Montegrande Donayre, the incident happened around 3 p.m. while the fast craft was sailing to Cebu City port. Donayre is one of the passengers of the fast craft and was able to take a video of the collision.

The PCG-Ormoc, in its initial report, said SuperCat Ferry Corporation, which operates the fast craft had 185 passengers on board. It departed Ormoc City, Leyte at past noon and was scheduled to arrive at Pier 1, Cebu City by 2 p.m.

Donayre said that while they were in the vicinity of the old Mandaue-Mandaue bridge (Sergio Osmeña Jr. bridge), one side of the fast craft crashed into a nearby cargo vessel.

Harold Alcontin, head of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said 18 out of the 35 injured were rushed to different hospitals for treatment.

Another passenger, Anita Caydon, said they got thrown off their seat during the collision.  She felt a dull pain around her wrist.

Bigla-bigla lang iyong nangyari (It was so sudden),” she said.

Another passenger, lawyer Erwin Nunez said a crew told him that the steering wheel malfunctioned.

Nunez said some of the seats were dislodged due to the impact causing injuries to several passengers. He sustained a bruised knee and elbow.

In a statement, the Supercat management expressed its apologies for the “harm and inconvenience caused by the recent accident involving MV St. Jhudiel.

“Our primary concern now is to ensure that all those who sustained injuries are properly cared for,” it said.

“Rest assured that we are currently conducting a thorough investigation of the incident with proper government agencies and that additional safety measures and appropriate actions shall be undertaken to avoid the recurrence of this unfortunate incident. We thank everyone for their understanding during this difficult time,” the statement read.

Supercat’s MV St. Jhudiel was immediately assisted by a tugboat from its sister company to safely disembark 208 passengers and crew.

The PCG urged officers of the two vessels to file marine protests.

It has deployed the Coast Guard Marine Environmental Protection Force-Central Visayas to determine if an oil spill had occurred following the accident.

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