85 rescued after passenger ship abandoned off Pilas Island

By Jewel Reyes, ABS-CBN News Zamboanga

Posted at Feb 28 2011 07:12 PM | Updated as of Mar 01 2011 03:12 AM

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Around 85 passengers of a ship in distress have been rescued near Pilas Island near the ports of Jolo, Sulu and Zamboanga City, authorities said Monday. 
 
The MV Katrina V was abandoned Sunday evening because strong waves threatened to sink the ship, according to passengers.
 
“The crew said the waves damaged the engines and the water was getting inside the boat. We feared for our lives, we were already using life vests because the captain was telling us to abandon ship,” one passenger said.
 
A fishing vessel based in Zamboanga City reportedly rescued all 85 passengers, who not injured.
 
“We felt relieved even, when another ship who had the same route boarded us and brought us back to our original destination through MV Ever Queen of Emilia,” said Lea Anton, an OFW who was scheduled to leave for abroad Monday.
 
The boat’s owner, Mubin Daud, said MV Katrina V had to be brought to its home port through the help of a tugboat. 
 
Seawater apparently caused the engine to malfunction. Daud denied that the boat capsized. 
 
Some of the passengers’ relatives were eagerly waiting to get a glimpse of their family members were emotional when they arrived. 
 
Philippine Coast Guard Zamboanga Station Commander Perfecto Eden said they remain on heightened alert because of a gale warning in Southern Mindanao. 
 
He advised small ship, particularly fishing boats to avoid going out to sea due to strong waves. 
 
He also urged large passenger vessels to reassess their capacity because of the bad weather.