RESCUE OPERATION. Personnel from the Philippine Coast Guard rescue 85 passengers, including five babies, from a commercial ferry that ran aground at Maigo Point, Lanao del Norte Thursday (April 20, 2023). The ferry was sailing to Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental from Lanao del Norte at the time of the incident. (Photo courtesy of PCG-Maigo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel have rescued 85 commercial ferry boat passengers, including five babies, off Maigo, Lanao del Norte, the local PCG station said Friday.

In a statement, PCG-Maigo Station said passengers aboard MV Filipinas Cebu were rescued after the vessel ran aground at Maigo Point around 6 p.m. Thursday as it sailed to Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental from Lanao del Norte.

The rescued passengers were safely ferried aboard tugboat Focson Diamond going to the PCG-Maigo Station.

Responding PCG personnel were accompanied by a team from the PCG’s Marine Environmental Protection Unit (MEPU) to conduct an immediate oil spill assessment.

“Based on the oil spill assessment of MEPU personnel, there was no presence of oil sheen in the area," PCG-Maigo said, adding its personnel have installed oil spill booms around the ferry as a proactive measure.

Meanwhile, the PCG in Basilan is continuously assisting in the salvage operations to remove MV Lady Mary Joy 3 from the shore of Baluk-Baluk Island in Hadji Muhtamad town.

The Aleson Shipping Lines which owns the vessel is leading the salvage operation. The vessel caught fire at about 11:30 p.m. on March 29 near Baluk-Baluk Island while sailing to Sulu from Zamboanga City. (PNA)