2 people dead, 15 missing as vessel sinks off Burias Island, Masbat

By Accidents

The Coast Guard of Philippines (PCG) confirmed the information for the death of 2 people on early Friday morning, 14th of June, and 15 others still remain missing after a vessel sank off Burias Island, Masbate because of still undefined reasons.

Bayani Belisario, chief petty officer of the Philippines Coast Guard reported that maritime authorities have saved forty travelers and crew members of the sunken vessel, MV Lady of Mount Carmel.

Ensign Criselda Boroais, operations officer of the Philippines Coast Guard told the sunken vessel carried 57 people when it sank at around 5.30 a.m.

Vessel's captain Lauro Mateo told not all people onboard the sunken vessel managed to wear life jackets.

It took only a minute for the vessel to sink, Capt. Mateo added. “Dire-diretso na yon. Hindi ko na ma-explain kung anong nangyari,” the captain told. (It sank so quickly. I could not explain what exactly happened.)

‘It happened so quickly’

Sunken vessel's captain told it was unlikely the vessel was overloaded.

Raffy Alejandro, who is director of the Office of Civil Defense in Bicol, also considered the claim that the vessel wasn't overloaded. He added that the vessel, after all, made the journey of about four hours among the 2 major provinces of Albay and Masbate, over 300-kilometres southeast of Manila.

Belisario told the vessel could carry a maximum of 212 occupants.

Raffy Alejandro told the reason of the vessel's sinking had not yet been determined. But the captain of the vessel, Lauro Mateo that was among those saved by the PCG, reported the ship could have been unbalanced by 2 passenger buses and a large truck it was carrying.

“He told it happened so quickly. The vessel just went down in the darkness,” Raffy Alejandro told, adding the waters and weather conditions were calm.

Vessel's owner Max Culiapsy, downplayed the chance that the vessel got unbalanced.

The sunken ship was a roll-on, roll-off ferry commonly used in the Philippines to transport passengers, vehicles and cargo throughout the archipelago of over 7,100 islands.