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53 passengers, crew rescued from stricken fastcraft

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

The Philippine Coast Guard yesterday rescued 53 passengers and the crew members of a fastcraft originating from Iloilo, after it suffered an engine malfunction about 1.1 nautical miles from BREDCO Port in Bacolod City.

Coast Guard Sub-Station BREDCO Port commander Chief Petty Officer Louie Campaner said the vessel M/V City of General Santos, operated by Montenegro Shipping Lines, suffered a breakdown of the starboard engine shaft at around 1:45 p.m. yesterday, prompting its captain  to call for an assistance from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

Campaner said the tugboat M/Tug Sadr was dispatched to assist the troubled vessel and tow it successfully to the Simplicio Palanca Sea Terminal.

He said that five PCG personnel, who were among the passengers, assisted the passengers and crew members, and no one was hurt in the incident.

Campaner further added that the vessel is temporarily barred from leaving port until they have secured a certificate of seaworthiness from the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).

On November 21, fastcraft vessel M/V Weesam Express 6 also suffered a breakdown of its rudder, causing the vessel to lose steering.

That vessel was also safely towed back to Bacolod City, although several passengers suffered minor sea sickness as the vessel spent some time floating in the Guimaras Strait.*

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