17 rescued from partially submerged cargo ship off Palawan, Philippines

Photo: Philippine Coast Guard

Personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police have successfully rescued all 17 crewmembers of a foreign-flagged commercial vessel after it ran aground and ended up partially submerged just off Palawan province in the Western Philippines earlier this week.

The Vietnamese-registed general cargo vessel Viet Hai Star was en route to Cagayan de Oro City in the Philippines’ Northern Mindanao region when it ran aground approximately 740 metres from Balabac at around 21:00 local time on Tuesday, November 21.

The grounding resulted in a hull breach, and the forward compartments near the starboard bow subsequently became flooded, compelling the crew to send out radio calls requesting assistance.

Coast guard and police search and rescue (SAR) teams were already in the area by the time the crew decided to abandon ship at 04:20 on Wednesday, November 22.

All 17 of the vessel’s crew were safely rescued and brought ashore. No serious injuries have been reported.

The coast guard deployed containment booms around the partially submerged vessel following reports of oil sheens. Divers have also begun surveying the wreckage as part of the investigation into the incident.

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