By Mary Judaline Partlow
The Philippine Coast Guard in Dumaguete and other volunteer groups successfully rescued 34 people, including a one-year old child, from a cargo ship that ran aground early Saturday as Tropical Storm Sendong unleashed its fury as it hit Dumaguete City and other parts of Negros Oriental.
No casualties were reported so far.
The vessel, M/V Ever Transport II of Kheri Lines, Inc. ran aground along the shores in the boundary of Barangay Tinago and Sitio Canday-ong, Barangay Calindagan in Dumaguete, close to the estuary of the overflowing Banica River, around 6:30 a.m. Saturday, said Lt. Commander Agapito Bibat, commander of the Dumaguete Coast Guard Station.
The cargo ship had initially docked at the Dumaguete Port last Thursday, apparently to pick up and load a shipment of beer. The Coast Guard, however, denied departure to all types of sea vessels since Thursday evening after the weather bureau, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, Astronomical Services Administration, hoisted Storm Signal No. 2 over southern Negros Oriental.
At dawn Saturday, as Sendong dumped heavy rains and carried strong winds in Dumaguete and other parts of the province, the M/V Ever Transport II pulled out of the Dumaguete port to seek cover elsewhere as it was being slammed by big waves against the pier, said Bibat.
Bibat led Coast Guard personnel and were joined by the Negros Oriental Search and Rescue (NOSAR), SAR teams of the Bureau of Fire Protection and the 204th and 211th Coast Guard Auxiliary Squadrons during rescue operations.
Fortunately, it was low tide, making it easier for rescuers to secure ropes from the ship to the shoreline, said Bibat.
Passengers were soaking wet as they disembarked and waded in sea water to shore.
All 34 passengers are safe and temporarily sheltered at the Calindagan barangay hall, awaiting relief assistance such as clothes and food from the City Social Welfare and Development Office.