2018 Sep 03

Passenger ship burns off wharf in Argao

A fire hit a RoRo-passenger vessel in the sea waters off Barangay Taloot, Argao yesterday morning.

The alarm was received by Argao Fire Station at 11:01 a.m.

SFO4 Rex Harrison Florido, the town fire chief, said the crew of LCT Miami, a barge, rescued 97 passengers from the burning m/v Lite Ferry 28.

Florido, in a phone interview, said he was told that all passengers were safe.

The m/v Lite Ferry 28 crew, he said, stayed in the ship to help put out the fire, which reportedly started in the engine room. The ship’s 27 crew were also unharmed.

The blaze occurred when the boat was about 300 meters near the Taloot Port from Tagbilaran City, Bohol.

After rescuing the passengers, the LCT Miami carried three fire trucks from Argao Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Sibonga BFP and Argao Municipal Government so they can pump water to the M/V Lite Ferry 28.

A boat from the Philippine Coast Guard also arrived to help the fire fighers.

Florido said the LCT Miami started dragging the ro-ro ship to the Taloot Port yesterday afternoon.

The Cebu Coast Guard Station (CCGS) of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) yesterday said they will start the investigation on the cause of fire in the vessel owned by Lite Shipping Corp.

Lt. Commander Alvin Dagalea of CCGS said the fire was put out at 3 p.m. yesterday, after which the vessel was towed to the Taloot Wharf.

Dagalea said all 97 passengers and 27 crew were safe.

In an interview with SunStar Cebu, Dagalea said Lite Ferry 28 departed Tagbilaran City for Taloot, Argao at 8:30 a.m. It caught fire at 10:15 a.m. when it was 300 meters from Taloot Wharf.

Lucio Lim Jr., president and general manager of Lite Shipping Corp., assured the public that their remaining 24 vessels are capable of serving the various routes in the Visayas and Mindanao.

“This is the first time that this happened to us. We have 25 vessels and we started the shipping business 28 years ago,” Lim said.

Lim said the fire suddenly started at the engine of the vessel. The crew tried to put it out using extinguishers but it was uncontrollable. So they sought help from LCT Miami.

Lim said that m/v Lite Ferry 28 is less than 10 years old, and its engines are three years old.

He said that Lite Shipping is the first company to put up a RoRo in Cebu 28 years ago with LCT Martin plying between Argao, Cebu and Loon, Bohol. They shifted to the Argao-Tagbilaran route after an earthquake destroyed the wharf in Loon.


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