A ferry carrying 120 passengers and crew members caught fire at sea in the Philippines, prompting a swift response from the coastguard to rescue those on board and extinguish the flames, according to official reports.
The M/V Esperanza Star Incident
The M/V Esperanza Star ferry caught fire at dawn on Sunday during its journey from Siquijor province to Bohol province in the central Philippines, as stated by the coastguard. The extent of the passengers and crew members who have been successfully rescued or if there are any casualties remains undisclosed at this time.
Efforts to Extinguish the Fire
Images and videos released by the coastguard depict the horrifying sight of flames and billowing black smoke engulfing two decks of the ferry. Coastguard personnel aboard another vessel deployed water cannons in an attempt to extinguish the fire. Notably, a fishing boat and another vessel were observed in close proximity to the incident.
Passenger and Crew Status
Based on the visuals shared by the coastguard, none of the 65 passengers and 55 crew members were visible on the burning ferry. However, further details regarding their whereabouts and safety are yet to be provided.
Sea Safety Challenges in the Philippine Archipelago
Sea accidents are unfortunately common in the Philippine archipelago, primarily due to a combination of frequent storms, poorly maintained vessels, overcrowding, and inadequate enforcement of safety regulations, particularly in remote provinces.
In March, a tragic incident unfolded when a fire ravaged a ferry carrying approximately 250 people off the southern island province of Basilan. Regrettably, the coastguard confirmed that at least 31 passengers and crew members lost their lives.
Decades earlier, in December 1987, the ferry Dona Paz collided with a fuel tanker, resulting in the sinking of the vessel. This devastating event claimed over 4,300 lives, making it the world’s worst peacetime maritime disaster.
In conclusion, the M/V Esperanza Star ferry fire in the Philippines highlights the urgent need for improved safety measures and stricter enforcement of regulations to prevent such incidents. The prompt response of the coastguard and ongoing efforts to rescue the passengers and crew members deserve commendation as they work tirelessly to ensure the safety of those affected.