Sulpicio Lines MV Princess Of Star Sinking Grounded and Sank (see video below)During Typhoon, Over 800 Feared Dead – Everything that could wrong, did go wrong for the crew of the MV Princess Of Star on July 21, 2008. The ship put out to sea in a Typhoon, lost engine power, then grounding in heavy seas and winds, ripping her hull, and finally sinking with over 800+ aboard.
Typhoon Fengshen, commonly known as Typhoon Frank, made landfall in the eastern Philippines early Saturday with top sustained winds of 110 mph pushing the 23,824-tonne lame duck Princess Of Star off course resulting in a grounding as the ship floating helplessly at sea.
The MV Princess of Stars’ engine failed several kilometers off the central Philippine island of Sibuyan on Saturday during a regular run between Manila and Cebu City with a crew of about 130 and about 715 passengers aboard.
Last reports say the Princess Of Star capsized with hundreds of people aboard now unaccounted for after the vessel capsized in Romblon province. Twenty people have been confirmed dead and one crew member were rescued when the MV Princess of the Stars turned upside down. But, the death toll is expected to rise as the body count is growing by the hour.
Life jackets are washing ashore, with nobody in them, as the search continues for survivors. Hundreds are feared dead.
Some vessels tried to come to the rescue early on, but were pushed back by rough seas, and the rescue attempts had to be aborted.
Local officials described the ferry as “upside down with a hole in the middle”, which began sinking Saturday night after leaving the Manila port for Cebu Friday night.
The Philippine Coast Guard has come under fire for allowing the plagued ship to set sail in waters churned by Typhoon Fengshen.
Princess Of The Star is owned by for Sulpicio Lines.
UPDATE: JUNE 22, 2008
Rescue crews are beginning to find survivors of this totally avoidable disaster. There are now 28 people who have been rescued after surviving the sinking.
They were found in a coastal village southeast of Manila. The survivors landed their lifeboat near the town of Mulanay in the Bondoc peninsula on Sunday, more than 24 hours after the Princess of the Stars capsized off Sibuyan island.
The survivors from this lifeboat say 30 people were originally in the lifeboat but two were lost at sea, including one man who was tossed overboard by a huge wave minutes before they landed.
Of the 28 survivors, 9 were crew members bring the total number of survivors to 32.
Family members of passengers and crew have flooded the ship line offices, demanding answers.
Latest information from Sulpicio Lines, the owner of the MV Princess of Stars, has revised numbers of people missing to 845 after discovering an extra 100 passengers on the ship’s manifest.
Among those missing are the most precious cargo the ship held, a total of 20 children, 33 infants. Also among those thought to have went down went down with the ship were a high number of elderly took weak to jump overboard and survive the high seas.
One passenger said they had only 30 minutes notice before the ship listed heavily, many of the young jumped into the typhoon ravaged seas. She reported that the lifeboats that did launch, were very crowded.
Reynato Lanoria, a janitor on the ship, estimated about 100 people could have survived, “but the others were trapped inside.”
The typhoon is one of he worst in the history of the Philippines. In Iloilo province, 228 people were reported dead after flood waters over two meters high engulfed communities, forcing tens of thousands to scramble onto the roofs of their homes with another 35,000 having evacuated.
“Iloilo is like an ocean. This is the worst disaster we have had in our history,” Governor Neil Tupaz told local radio.
UPDATE: JUNE 23, 2008
A total of 38 survivors have made it to shore as of today. This leaves 817 still missing in one of the worst disasters at sea in history.
Rescue has still been hampered by rough seas, and a proper search effort for survivors has not really taken place. It could be another day before a mass search will begin. With the ship having sunk so close to shore, it hard to imagine that a better search effort could not have been launched. It is has become highly unlike any more than a few more survivors will be found.
Local officials say the over 800 missing were likely trapped in the ship. Divers sent to the ship knocked on the hull, and got no sign of life inside.
Some of the survivors said to be from The Princess Of The Star are actually from a cargo ship that also sunk, MV Lake Paway, which departed from Mindanao during the storm.
Video: Tragedy of MV Princess of the Stars Sulpicio lines