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First of all, local news outlets like the Daily Guardian and Panay News did not report this recent incident on the Iloilo Strait. At least I didn’t see it on their online editions today, November 13, 2019. If it weren’t for a tip from a Canadian friend on Guimaras, I wouldn’t have known about this latest pump boat episode. Thanks to my Canadian friend and thanks to Iloilo Today for actually reporting this story: “Overloaded Banca Boat Headed for Guimaras Submerges.”

Overloaded Banca Boat Headed for Guimaras Submerges

The pump boat MB Tassel was docked at Parola Wharf in Iloilo City. The cargo vessel was loaded with 160 sacks of rice. The rice was slated for delivery at Buenavista Wharf in Guimaras. A sack of rice weighs about 50 kilos. Therefore, the boat was loaded with 8,000 kilos of rice, 17,637 pounds.

Around 1:40 pm, Tuesday, November 12, 2019, the boat took off. However, the vessel only made it three meters (about 10 ft.) from Parola Wharf before it began submerging.

Thankfully, there were no casualties. The Philippine Coast Guard immediately rescued the four pump boat crewmembers.

Iloilo Strait Simulation Exercise a “Failure”

Just last Friday, November 8, 2019, the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Western Visayas (RDRRMC 6) conducted a Simulation Exercise on the Iloilo Strait.

The exercise was in response to the Aug. 3, 2019, sea tragedy on the Iloilo Strait that claimed 31 lives.

Last week’s disaster response exercise at the Iloilo Strait was a simulated disaster at sea – a boat full of passengers capsized.

“…I saw that communication was the problem,” said Jose Roberto Nuñez, director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Western Visayas according to a Philippine News Agency report.

If the exercise was a real disaster rescue operation, it would have been a failure, he said.

He gave it a rating of 60 – a failing grade.

Planning a trip to Guimaras? Exercise extreme caution and try not to travel during any inclement weather if possible.

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