Sep 062009


Nine are confirmed dead and 30 people remain missing following the capsize and sinking of the Aboitiz line’s 7,268-tonne ro-ro Superferry 9 off Zamboanga on Sunday morning. Some 931 of the vessel’s 968 passengers crew and sea marshalls, have been rescued. The vessel has a capacity of 1,120 passengers and crew.


The incident comes a little more that a year after hundreds died in a similar incident involving the Sulcipio Lines Princess of the Stars.



Superferry 9 departed General Santo City at about 0845 on Saturday evening. According to passenger interviews with local media the vessel began to list to starboard at about midnight on Saturday. The vessel’s master, CaptainJose G. Yap, reported the vessel listing at 0230 Sunday morning and told passengers to put on lifejackets.


After attempting to correct the list, Yap ordered abandon ship at 0440. Philippine navy and coastguard and two merchant ships, MV Myriad, and MV Ocean Integrity responded to the emergency.


Evacuation of passengers into lifeboats, liferafts and attending vessels was complete by about 0840, followed by the crew.


Superferry 9 finally sank a little after 1000 Sunday morning.


The cause of the lost of stability remains unknown. Although the northern part of the Philippines were being hit by heavy storms weather in the area in which Superferry 9 ran into trouble has been described as ‘fair’. In the past shifting cargo aboard ferries, a result of poor lashing, has led to listing and capsize.

There have been reports of a ‘hole in the hull’ but similar report regarding Princess of the Stars turned out to be thruster openings.

A Board of Marine Inquiry has been called to establish blame for the incident – the Philippines has no independent maritime accident investigation agency or professionally-trained investigators.

Sadly, the country’s poor reputation for maritime safety remains undiminished and apparently insoluble.

Video reports:

  2 Responses to “Philippines – Superferry 9 Lost”

  1. Previous Superferry 9 Incidents:

    May 2009, drifted for 12 hours off the coast of the province of Camiguin following engine failure.

    February 2007, engine failure on the way from Bacolod City to Iligan City in Mindanao, towed to shore by another ship.

    April 2006, stranded near Masbate, with a cracked engine cylinder head. Later, replacement cylindre leaked.

    Safety licence revoked in 2007 pending satisfactory repairs.

  2. Update:

    Last passenger unaccounted for found 24 hrs after incident.

    Philippine Coastguard reports 1,022 passengers have been rescued and 12 bodies recovered. According to Superferry 9 manifest the vessel carried 832 passengers and 117 crew.

    All Aboitiz ferry operations ordered to cease. Aboitiz has appealed the decision. Company has been ordered to provide ‘good cause’ why it should be allowed to stay in business.

    Licences and seaman’s book of officers and crew suspended.

    Aboitiz spokesman say sufficient lifejackets and LSA aboard.

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