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Prayers offered for victims and survivors of Ormoc sea mishap

TACLOBAN (Agencies): The Church calls for continued prayers for those who perished as well as for survivors in a sea mishap off the bay in Ormoc City on July 2. 

At least 61 people were confirmed dead, after the two-decked MB Kim Nirvana capsized 10 minutes from leaving the port of Ormoc, about 200 metres from the shores of Ormoc City, at 12.20pm on its way to Camotes Island in Cebu.

Priests in Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Ormoc City did not waste time in visiting survivors and in blessing the bodies of those who died in the sea mishap.

Father Isagani Petilos, pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish, led his fellow clergy and Church volunteers in blessing the dead at the funeral parlor and at the Ormoc Doctors Hospital.

“I was in the pier watching the rescue and retrieval operations together with other government agencies, I found out that there were around 20 survivors staying overnight at the Supercat Terminal,” he narrated to the CBCP News

The priest also offered accommodations at the parish pastoral centre but he was assured that the city government had taken care of the survivors.

A Mass was offered on July 3, as well as the day of the incident for the victims who died in the sea tragedy.

Distraught relatives waited at the port until the next day for news of the missing, but no more survivors were found.

There were 176 passengers and 16 crew on board when the motorised banca left Ormoc. 

Among the passengers were traders bringing their farm yields and other merchandise to Camotes island. Sacks of rice and cement were retrieved on board.

Survivors alleged that the 33-ton ferry, while backing out of the port, suddenly overturned due to big waves, giving them no chance to put on life jackets. They recalled that after the vessel quickly flipped over on one side, many passengers were unable to escape and trapped under the boat.

Tropical Storm Linfa was set to brush past the northern Philippines later on July 3. Some survivors said right after the incident that they believed bad weather and huge waves can be the cause for the tragedy.

However, the Philippine Star quoted Captain Pedro Tinampay, district commander of the Philippine Coast Guard Eastern Visayas, on July 4 as saying that the sea mishap may have happened because of a mistake on the part of boat captain Warren Oliverio upon the findings of initial investigation.

Tinampay said some survivors reported the vessel flipped to one side after the boat captain made a sharp turn. Oliverio was ordered to undergo a drug test.

Oliverio and vessel owner Juge Bung Zarco were being detained and questioned by the police on July 4. They may face criminal charges.

Caritas Manila said on July 5 that it would help the families of the victims with the funds from its Alay Kapwa Lenten programme which funds social action initiatives. 


“They can count on our help. We will contact our Church partners in the diocese so we can aid victims,” said Father Anton Pascual, executive director of Caritas Manila.