Cargo ships sink off Filipino coast

23 January 2012 (Last Updated January 23rd, 2012 18:30)

Two cargo ships carrying cement and iron ore sunk off the coast of the Philippines last Sunday, according to Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

Two cargo ships carrying cement and iron ore sunk off the coast of the Philippines last Sunday, according to Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

The Seaford Shipping Lines-owned M/V Seaford 2 cargo vessel, which had 18 Filipino crewmen onboard, began to sink off Catanduanes province last Saturday after it was hit by a hard object on its way from Iligan City to Culasi, Antique.

The M/V Seaford 2, which was carrying 35,000 bags of cement, damaged its hull in the accident, following which water started to enter the ship through a large hole, forcing the crew members to abandon ship. Apart from the cement, the cargo vessel was reportedly carrying around 7,000L of diesel fuel when it sank off San Jose in Antique.

The coastguard and Antique officials were monitoring any possible oil spill from the sunken vessel, which left southern Iligan city with 2,377gal of fuel. According to reports, oil spill control booms and other equipment were deployed as part of contingency measures against an oil spill.

Separately, a Panamanian vessel carrying iron ore, the M/V Sun Spirit, also sank off the Catanduanes on Sunday. The vessel listed off the island province of Catanduanes in the Bicol Region and sent a distress signal. The Yokohama Marine and Merchant-owned ship was loaded with 9,970t of iron ore sand and was bound for China when it left MacArthur Port in Tacloban City in Leyte.

The 14 crew members of the vessel (12 Indonesians and two Malaysians) were on a life raft drifting toward the island of Rapu-Rapu in Albay when they were rescued by fishermen and a passing cargo vessel. Sun Spirit chief engineer Cha Chi Moon said they left Leyte in good weather, but the sand got wet and the cargo started shifting to one side.