By Lalaine M. Jimenea
48 passengers were injured, four of them quite severely, after a Supercat fast craft collided into a San Miguel barge, just about 20 minutes before it could have docked in Cebu evening of Saturday, February 18. According to a passenger, France Osalla, in his Facebook post, the St. Braquel ship of Supercat “crashed into the barge ahead of us.” The location was reportedly
just under the first Mactan Bridge. He also described that they panicked after the accident, fearful the boat would sink. Osalla is one of a group of “Zumba Zins” or fitness instructors who
were in Leyte for an engagement.
However, later videos taken by other passengers show that the passengers already calmed down after realizing the boat would not sink. Passengers seated in the middle seats were mostly
affected, but one video showed a passenger by a window seat complaining he cannot extricate himself. He was complaining, “nabali akong hawak” (I broke my waist) but did not seem in pain.
The fast craft, at that time, had 90 passengers on it, 89 adults and one minor. Nagiel B. Bañacia of the Cebu Public Information Office further said in his account that the passengers
sustained lacerations, wounds and some fractures in various parts of their bodies, including Captain Reniero Maurin, after they were thrown away from their seats due to the strong
impact of the collision. He said they immediately extricated the four severely injuredpassengers and brought them to hospitals.
After which, they attended to the less severely injured, who were also sent to hospitals of their choice. “The Command Control Center (C-3) of Cebu City Risk Reduction Management Council raised the alarm of ‘’Ship Collision’’ and possible ‘’Mass Casualty Incident’’ after it received a distress call,” he said, and that they immediately organized an Incident Management Team (IMT). The teams included responders from Cebu City -QRT, Cebu City Ambulance Services, ERUF, Red Cross, Bantay Mandaue, USCERT, REAVO Cebu Chapter, and RAPID, BFP, Philippine Coast Guard, AMRO, CCPO, CPA, PNP Maritime and Philippine Navy.
Meanwhile, the Supercat management is taking care of the injured. A source, requesting anonymity since he was not cleared to answer media, said “all the passengers are covered by insurance,
and management has given them the right to choose the hospital where they want to be brought.” There are also no interruptions as to the scheduled trips of Supercat here in Ormoc,
it was learned. The St. Jhudiel, the same boat that was used to rescue the passengers, is now plying the Cebu-Ormoc-Cebu route in lieu of the St. Braquiel.