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46 more rescued in Sagay sea mishaps

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Rescued passengers being attended by medical personnel of the Alfredo Maranon Sr. Memorial District Hospital in Sagay City.*Sagay DRRMO photo

Forty-six more persons were rescued Sunday after chartered boats they were riding capsized off the coast of Molocaboc island in Sagay City, Negro Occidental, several hours after 10 other persons had also been rescued for a similar incident in the territorial waters of Sipaway Island, San Carlos City, all in Negros Occidental.

Worse, the operators of two motorized boats that capsized in Sagay City are not authorized to ferry passengers, disclosed Coast Guard chief Cmdr.  Joe Luviz Mercurio yesterday.

Mercurio said that five motorboats were rented to transport 46 passengers from a port in Brgy. Cervantes, Escalante City, to Molocaboc Island in Sagay City.

Two of the five chartered boats capsized off the coast of Molocaboc Island in Sagay City, on Sunday, after being hit by a squall due to localized thunderstorm.

While no one was killed or seriously hurt in the separate mishaps, Mercurio yesterday said that some of the victims were brought to a hospital in Sagay City, for prolonged exposure to the cold water.

He disclosed that the two the five rented motorboats sunk after their outriggers were battered and destroyed by big waves, while the three others managed to return safely to a port in Brgy. Cervantes, Escalante City, after rescuing some of the victims.

The 14 others who were clinging for safety on the capsized motorboats and 10 others who were left in a sand bar were later rescued by responding personnel of the Sagay City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office and Coast Guard sub-stations of Sagay City and Escalante City.

Mercurio said that the owners of the chartered boats are liable for the incident, stressing that they are not authorized to transport passengers.

They were operating as “colorums” which is in violation of the law, he added.

PCG investigations further showed that the motorized boat that capsized off the coast of Sipaway Island in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, was only allowed to operate as a service boat but not to ferry passengers.

Mercurio already instructed commanders of PCG sub stations in cities of Sagay, Escalante and San Carlos to require the concerned boat operators to submit their notarized affidavits to hear their side in the incident. With the onset of summer season, he reminded Negrenses not to charter motor bancas that are not authorized to carry passengers, for their own safety.*

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