PCG orders salvaging firm to complete retrieval of sunken Princess of the Stars

April 10, 2010 10:31 pm 

MANILA, April 10 –Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) commandant, directed on Saturday Royal Jessan Petromin Resources Inc. (RJPRI), a salvaging firm, to finish its retrieval operation of the 23,000 gross ton M/V Princess of the Stars (POTS), which sank off Sibuyan Island, Romblon in 2008, before the start of the stormy season.

Tamayo said RJPRI had completed only 40 percent of the scope of its retrieval undertakings.

He said the vessel should be extracted from the seabed before the stormy season starts.

“Once the stormy season starts, it (storm) would pose as a hazard to navigation,” Tamayo said.

Tamayo said “If the job is done before the stormy season, it would not be an obstruction in the maritime traffic especially at night.”

The PCG commandant said he directed RJPRI to ensure that its “anchorage is properly secured and that the vessel would not run adrift.”

Commodore Cecil Chen, PCG-Southern Tagalog District commander Commodore Cecil Chen, said they were working hard to speed up the retrieval efforts.

He said the weather condition might affect the extraction of the ship.

He said the divers have yet to reach the cargo hold during the retrieval operations.

The M/V Princess of the Stars left the Port of Manila for its voyage to Cebu on June 20, 2008 . However, just before noontime the next day, upon reaching Sibuyan Island of Romblon province, the vessel entered the eye of Typhoon Frank and was met by strong winds and waves and heavy rain that caused the ship to tilt by 40 degrees to its port side (left side) and turn over completely.

When the vessel made its voyage in June 21, 2008, there were reportedly 864 passengers and crew on board but only 33 of them survived, 553 perished and there are still 278 people missing. (PNA) RMA/JES

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