At around 5:50 a.m. on January 19, Philippine Coast Guard Station (CGS) Iloilo received a distress call from MV Sportivo, which was anchored at Iloilo Strait between Iloilo City and Guimaras, that the cargo vessel was sinking after it was drifted from her anchored position and collided with another vessel. Immediately, the PCG Rescue Teams dispatched to the scene of incident.
Subsequently, all 29 crew members were rescued, brought to CGS Iloilo Compound, and provided with necessary relief and assistance. Likewise, the survivors were given medical attention/assistance by the Iloilo City Emergency Response (ICER) Team.
Initial investigation revealed that around 5:15 a.m. while doing his routinely morning inspection around the ship, Capt. Nemesio Eguna, observed that MV Sportivo too close to another anchored vessel. Immediately, the crew executed emergency procedures to prevent collision. However, the vessel’s main engine malfunctioned. The strong wind and current caused MV Sportivo to drift fast and make contact with another anchored cargo vessel in the area, MV Jehan-5. Due to the collision, MV Sportivo sustained a big hole on her portside midship, took in seawater, and eventually sank at the vicinity 1,500 yards east of Iloilo River entrance.
MV Sportivo is a general cargo vessel of 663.37 gross tons / 385.47 net tons, owned and operated by Seen Sam Shipping Inc. with business address at 109-a Bonifacio Street, Cebu City. The cargo vessel has on board 28,000 bags of fertilizer intended for transport to Palawan. Also, she has a bunker fuel load (SFO 400) of 12,000 liters. The vessel’s chief engineer, Constantino Cortez, averred that they have closed all fuel tanks and pipelines before abandoning the ship.
PCG divers attempted to conduct underwater inspection but aborted the plan due to very rough sea conditions. The plan will be pursued tomorrow if weather will permit.
Governor Samuel Gumarin of Guimaras Province with Commo Athelo L Ybanez PCG and other PCG personnel conducted seaborne patrol/monitoring of the sinking area. Some patches of oil sheen were observed drifting towards Jordan, Guimaras. Due to rough seas and the crisscrossing of passenger motorboats plying between Iloilo City and Guimaras, the oily sheen was basically dispersed. Nonetheless, oil spill response equipment such as spill booms, sprayers, and dispersants are being readied if the need arises. The coastal barangays of Iloilo and Guimaras have been alerted and advised to make necessary preparations such as fabricating improvised oil spill booms made of rice straw (dayami) and coconut husk (bunot).