M/V Virgina 1, a cargo vessel with 11 crew onboard enroute to Roxas, Palawan from Delpan Pier, Binondo, Manila sank after it caught fire onboard at vicinity waters Southwest of Caballo Island, approximately eight (8) nautical miles from Fortune Island, Nasugbu, Batangas on January 17, 2017.

Investigation to the survivors including the master of the vessel revealed that on January 17 at 1 AM, one of the crew suddenly noticed a fire coming from the purser’s cabin which is adjacent to the smoke stack of the vessel. All the crew tried to combat the fire but to no avail. It continuously spread on the main deck and reached the midship of the vessel where combustible cargoes were stored.

At 2 AM, the master declared “abandon ship”.

Six (6) crew boarded a life raft while five (5) others were able to board a life boat. 

At 3 AM, the lifeboat with 5 survivors capsized due to strong winds and big waves. They managed to cling to the boat, however, one of them identified as Sonny Ruado died due to severe exhaustion at 6 AM.

At 7 AM, the survivors decided to leave the dead body of Ruado with an empty plastic container tied around his body to serve as floater at vicinity waters 12 nm away from Corregidor Island.

At 9:15 AM, they were rescued by a passing fisherman at vicinity waters between La monja and Fortune Island. The survivors were immediately brought to shoreline of Brgy. Poblacion Mariveles, Bataan and were turned-over to Coast Guard Sub-station Mariveles.

CGSS Mariveles personnel immediately brought the rescued crew to the nearest government health clinic for the conduct of Medical examination. They were later turned-over to PNP Mariveles after Dr. Gerald Sebastian, Municipal Health Officer, has certified that all of them were in good physical condition.

The four (4) rescued survivors were identified as follows:

1. Ronald Garcia, 54 Y/O - Master

2. Luis Madla, 60 Y/O - Chief Engineer

3. Jun-Jun Manalo, 33 Y/O- Purser

4. Ian Badayos, 22 Y/O - Cook

At 2:30 PM, CGSS Nasugbu informed CGS BATAAN that one of the crew, Mr. Angelo Gambol (Quarter Master), was rescued by a fisherman at Bogiw Island, near Brgy Papaya, Nasugbu Batangas.

According to Gambol, immediately after the skipper declared abandonship, they were divided into two groups. Gambol together with 5 other crew proceeded to the forecastle deck (front part of the ship) and lowered the life raft. He was accidentally left behind as he slipped out when it was his turn to board the raft.

He further disclosed that they were carrying the following cargoes:

200 sacks feeds

50 pcs galvanized iron sheets

200 pcs Uratex foams

1000 pcs student arm chairs from DEPED

500 pcs plastic empty drums

150 pcs ice chest

2000 pcs water container

200 rolls Linoleum

100 bundles empty sacks

100 rolls nylon rope

500 cartons Wine (Shuktong)

CGSS Nasugbu brought Gambol to Apacible Memorial District Hospital for medical examination and later turned over to Mr. Elmar Chua, cousin and representative of Ms Virginia Chua, the shipowner of Virginia Shipping Lines Corporation. 

Coast Guard Search and Rescue Team is still on the look-out for the five still missing crew namely:

1. Cilidonio Magbanua, 54 Y/O;

2. Edwin Inajenes, 33 Y/O;

3. Dennis Gadon, 37 Y/O;

4. Virgilio Macaraeg, 54 Y/O;

5. Ramilo Fetalbero, 50 Y/O.