Manila: A roll-on roll-off (Roro) vessel with 82 people on board caught fire on Friday afternoon while en route to Batangas, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said. The MV Asia Philippines departed at 3pm from the Calapan port in Mindoro and caught fire one nautical mile off Batangas Anchorage Area at around 5:59 pm.
PCG spokesman Commodore Armand Balilo said the distressed vessel was expected to arrive at 5:30 pm.
Initial investigation shows the vessel had 48 passengers and 34 crew members or a total of 82 individuals on board. It was also bearing 16 rolling cargoes, Blilo said. The vessel had an authorised passenger capacity of 402.
It was not immediately known what caused the fire.
Rescue personnel and two floating assets were dispatched to conduct search and rescue operations, PCG stated. As of 7:30 pm Friday, Balilo said a total of 73 individuals have been rescued.
One of the 73 rescued individuals, a 44-year-old woman, was brought to the nearest hospital for medical attention due to an injury.
The two passengers earlier reported as “missing” have already been found, the Coast Guard reported on Saturday.
No traces of an oil spill were found within the vicinity of M/V Asia Philippines that caught fire off Batangas City port.
At around 9:47 pm, authorities declared that most of the fire in the vessel had been distinguished. The vessel slightly tilted because of the incident, said the PCG, adding that no traces of oil spill or oil sheen were found.
The authorized passenger capacity of the said vessel is 402.