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Passenger-cargo vessel runs aground in Coron; 1K passengers disembark

A passenger-cargo vessel ran aground near the port of Coron in Palawan last Saturday afternoon, forcing more than a thousand passengers to disembark.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said the vessel, MV St. Francis Xavier, experienced engine trouble at around 4 p.m. while departing for Puerto Princesa City.

“During its undocking maneuver, the vessel lost all power and was left dead in the water so the crew anchored the ship to prevent it from drifting,” the PCG said in a statement.

It said that while engineers were trying to restore power, the vessel ran aground at a shallow area about one nautical mile from the Coron port.

The PCG said the vessel’s power was restored at 10 p.m. “but the ship remained immobilized as the stern was still grounded.”

The vessel had a total of 1,365 passengers and 139 crew members, according to the PCG.

Authorities started the disembarkation of the passengers after the mishap.

As of 11:32 a.m. yesterday, the PCG said 324 passengers have “safely disembarked” from the vessel.

The PCG deployed its two high-speed response boats “to assist in the disembarkation efforts, ensuring the safety and swift transfer of all remaining passengers from the vessel.”

It said MV St. Francis Xavier is planning to return to the Coron port “for a thorough assessment before continuing its voyage.”

“While the repair of its generator is still ongoing, a detailed inspection of the vessel will be conducted before allowing it to proceed to its next destination,” the PCG said.

The PCG said the initial assessment showed no signs of an oil spill. It also said divers conducted an underwater assessment to check the integrity of the vessel.