By Katrin Anne A. Arcala and Mariella S. Bustamante
THE M/V ZAMBOANGA Ferry boat of the George and Peter Lines
ran aground in Dumaguete City on the morning of Jan. 3, threatening the
lives of 228 passengers.
The ferry was unable to dock due to the strong wind and waves brought
by tropical depression Auring. Witnesses said that two lifeboats
were provided by the ferry, while the Dumaguete rescue team was able to
send in one rubber boat and a jetski.
“It’s a delicate situation. All systems in the ferry are down. We
are only dependent on lifeboats,” said Leila A. Canete [Check spelling.] , a
member of the Philippine Search and Rescue squadron. Canete said that
although the water is not very deep, the strong waves make it diffcult to
rescue passengers. Most passengers were returning from their Christmas
The first rescuers were Looc fishermen and stevedores. The
Dumaguete City rescue team, the Dumaguete Fire Department and
the Philippine Red Cross (based in Dumaguete) assisted in the rescue
of passengers aboard the ferry. Politicians personally extended help
as well. The passengers who have been rescued were immediately sent to the
PPA (Philippine Ports Authority) located in the port of Dumaguete.
The ship was from Zamboanga en route to Cebu. While no casualties
were reported, one of the passengers died of heart failure. The passenger
was identified as Julius Nuñez, 34, from Lapu-Lapu City, who
reportedly needed further medical treatment in Cebu.
The entire rescue operation for passengers lasted until 4 PM. Baggage
were claimed a day after the incident. (With notes from Negros