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Philippine Coast Guard Rescues 88 Passengers From Grounded Ferry

Starlite Saturn rescue
Image courtesy PCG

Published Mar 1, 2023 8:15 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Philippine Coast Guard has rescued 88 passengers from a ro/ro ferry that ran aground on a reef between the islands of Cebu and Bohol on Tuesday afternoon. 

The ferry Starlight Saturn went aground at about 1600 on Tuesday on Danajon Bank while under way from Surigao to Cebu. The Philippine Coast Guard was alerted and activated its local stations for rescue duty.  

PCG's Visayas branch dispatched the patrol vessel BRP Malamawi, which arrived at the scene at 2330 hours. The Philippine Navy also joined the response effort and sent two vessels, BRP Filipino Flojo and BRP Enrique Jurado, to assist in the rescue. They arrived on scene at about 0200 hours. Several good samaritan vessels also loitered nearby, preparing to take on evacuees. 

Images courtesy PCG

The operation was delayed because of low tide but finally got under way at 0430, a Philippine Navy spokesman told local media. The crew lowered the rear loading ramp of the ferry and helped passengers board small rubber launches for transfer to other vessels. The responders completed the rescue by 0800 hours Wednesday, and passengers were delivered safely to a pier in Cebu City after evacuation. 

11 passengers - all truck drivers - volunteered to stay with the ro/ro and help ensure the security of the cargo and belongings on board, according to Cebu Daily News. 

Danajon Bank is a vast reef complex covering more than 100 square miles in the center of the Philippine archipelago. It is a rare double barrier reef, the only one of its kind in the Philippines and one of only six in the world.