PCG resumes retrieval operations for skeletal remains in sunken 'M/V Princess of the Stars'

June 3, 2010 8:31 pm 

MANILA, June 3 — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) resumed on Thursday its search and retrieval operations for the skeletal remains believed to be still inside the 23,000-tons "M/V Princess of the Stars" (POTS) which sank off Sibuyan Island in Romblon in June 2008.

Captain Lino Paiton, PCG-Southern Tagalog District deputy commander, said the divers of the PCG and Royal Jessan Petromin Resources Inc. (RJPRI) have already finished 51 percent of the work to salvage the sunken vessel.

Paiton said there are still obstructions that need to be removed before divers could enter the economy section of the submerged ship and search for more skeletal remains.

The retrieval operations were suspended for two weeks due to debris that blocked the passageway of the POTS.

“We have to suspend the operations because debris might place the lives of our divers in danger,” Paiton said.

Aside from this, the strong waves also hampered the operations.

RJPRI is seriously considering to temporarily submerge the hull of the POTS to prevent it from being drifted out to sea during a storm.

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 rains that caused it to tilt by 40 degrees to its port side (left side) and turn over completely.

The vessel reportedly had 864 passengers and crew members when it started sailing. A total of 553 people perished, 33 were rescued and 278 others remained missing. (PNA) scs/JES

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