GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/15 December) — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is working on the immediate removal of a Panamanian cruise ship that ran aground off the coasts of this city three days ago.
Lt. Jay Tarriela, commander of the PCG station here, said Monday they have started the preparations for the salvage operations on MV Victory Pacific, which is currently stuck about 150 meters away from the shores of Barangay Dadiangas West here.
He said they have tapped the services of salvor firm Harbor Star Shipping Services Inc. to lead the salvage operations.
PCG and Harbor Star personnel have scheduled a meeting on Monday morning to evaluate the situation and set the strategies for the removal of the stranded 23,000-ton cruise vessel.
Tarriela said the cruise ship came from Mexico City in Mexico and was en route to Singapore when it ran out of bunker fuel last Friday.
He said the vessel, which was forced to use diesel fuel, ran aground while trying to reach the Makar port here to refuel.
“The ship hit a shallow area while it was on its way to the anchorage area,” the official said.
He said the cruise ship’s 21 officers and crew, who are all Indian nationals, were apparently unfamiliar with the area.
MV Victory Pacific, which is an ageing vessel, has no passengers on board during the incident.
The vessel listed India as its final destination and where it was reportedly scheduled for decommissioning.
Tarriela said they will prioritize the immediate removal of the vessel, which has been slowly drifting close to the shores.
The area where it was stranded is near a crowded coastal community inhabited by informal settlers.
The official said they are currently investigating whether the cruise ship has damaged the area’s coral reefs. (MindaNews)