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Timeline: M/V Princess of the Stars tragedy

June 22, 2009 3:16pm
Chronology of the tragic voyage of M/V Princess of the Stars, which sank at the height of Typhoon Frank in 2008, are presented below:

June 20, 2008, Friday - M/V Princess of the Stars left the port of Manila at 8:04 p.m. and began its voyage to Cebu.

Hours earlier, PAGASA issued bulletins warning that Typhoon Frank poses a threat to the Eastern Visayas Region.

PAGASA's 4:45 p.m. bulletin said the typhoon had made landfall over Eastern Samar and was headed toward the Bicol region. The forecast said Typhoon Frank would cross Samar and reach Camarines Norte the next day, June 21.

Storm Signal #1 was already raised in Metro Manila and some parts of Cebu by the time M/V Princess of the Stars set sail.

Northern Cebu and Romblon were under Signal #2.

Later that Friday night, Typhoon Frank changed its course.

The 11:00 p.m. bulletin of PAGASA said the typhoon was headed for Masbate and on to Southern Luzon's inland waters; it would be 60 kms northeast of Metro Manila by the evening of June 21.

Romblon's storm signal was raised to #3, while Northern Cebu and Metro Manila were under Storm Signal #2.

M/V Princess of the Stars was still in the Corregidor area when the 11:00 p.m. PAGASA bulletin was issued.

By 11:30 p.m., the Philippine Coast Guard had issued a directive prohibiting all types of ships from sailing.

June 21, 2008, Saturday - PAGASA's 5:00 a.m. bulletin said Typhoon Frank has moved westward in the past six hours and was threatening the Panay and Mindoro area.

Romblon was still under Storm Signal #3; Northern Cebu was under Signal #2, while the rest of Cebu and Metro Manila were under Signal #1.

Around 6:30 a.m. Pier 12 in Manila advised M/V Princess of the Stars to seek shelter if necessary.

M/V Princess of the Stars contacted the Sulpicio Lines office in Manila around 11:30 a.m. to report that the ship has experienced engine trouble and has run aground near Sibuyan Island and Romblon. Sulpicio Lines lost contact with the ship after this.

Sulpicio Lines asked for help from vessels near M/V Princess of the Stars, but received no response.

The Sulpicio Lines office in Manila sent a distress call to the Philippine Coast Guard at 12:55 p.m. Rescue vessels, however, could not immediately proceed to check on M/V Princess of the Stars because of rough waters.

In media interviews days later, survivors recounted that M/V Princess of the Stars was listing for some time, and that it began to sink shortly after the captain declared abandon ship around noontime of June 21.

Romblon remained under Storm Signal #3 for the rest of the day. By 5:00 p.m., PAGASA pegged the location of Typhoon Frank's center either off the coast of Romblon or in the vicinity of nearby Tablas Island.

PAGASA's 11 p.m. bulletin reported that Typhoon Frank has weakened and is headed for Mindoro and Batangas.

June 22, 2008, Sunday - PAGASA lowered the storm signal in Romblon to #2 in its 5:00 a.m. bulletin as the typhoon moved closer to Metro Manila.

Shortly before 9:00 AM, Romblon provincial police confirmed to media reports that M/V Princess of the Stars has sunk. The Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine Navy dispatched gunboats to the site.

August 27, 2008, Tuesday - At the conclusion of the Board of Marine Inquiry investigation into the MV POTS tragedy, the BMI recommended to the MARINA the indefinite suspension of the franchise of Sulpicio Lines Inc, saying the company allowed the vessel to sail despite the bad weather. The board also found ship captain Marimom "negligent" in the performance of his duties.

Source: GMA News Research
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