Video: Fire Burns Through Grounded Ropax Ferry off Cebu

Image courtesy Philippine Coast Guard

Published Jul 19, 2022 10:40 PM by The Maritime Executive

The ro/pax ferry Trans-Asia 1 went aground off the island of Cebu in the Philippines last December, and it has been stuck just off a scenic coastline ever since. The salvage job got harder on Saturday: for reasons that remain under investigation, the vessel caught fire and burned for 13 hours.

Trans-Asia 1 is a 1980-built ro/pax ferry operated by Cebu-based Trans-Asia Shipping Lines. In December 2021, as Typhoon Odette swept through the Philippines, the ferry ran aground off Punta Engano, just across the bay from Cebu City. A skeleton crew has been stationed aboard to keep up the ship.

According to the Philippine Coast Guard, the fire broke out at about 0200 hours Saturday morning in the Trans-Asia 1's economy passenger area. The eight crewmembers aboard abandoned ship, and the PCG deployed a special response team to help them. Two were taken to a hospital for medical care. 

A video of the fire posted to social media suggests that the vessel may have sustained extensive damage to her upper decks. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and Trans-Asia is evaluating the damage and looking at options for recovering the ship. 

“Rest assured that the Trans-Asia Management Committee is on top of the situation to ensure the crew’s safety and well-being,” the company said in a statement.