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Survivors Say Ferry Crew Ignored Pleas to Anchor

From Reuters

Passengers aboard a Philippine ferry that sank in a typhoon begged the crew to make for shelter but the captain steamed on while broadcasting “Hail Marys” over loudspeakers, survivors said today.

“Some passengers were crying, shouting ‘Please stop, let’s not go on!’ ” said a teen-age girl who reached here today with a group of 138 aboard the rescue ship Cebu Princess.

About 200 survivors have been found since the Dona Marilyn sank. The operators said 481 people were aboard, but survivors said there were probably many unregistered passengers.

Alberto Oledan, 29, a construction worker, said passengers urged the crew of the 2,855-ton inter-island ferry to take shelter as Typhoon Ruby battered the Philippines on Monday. The captain dropped anchor briefly but then proceeded.

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“Passengers were shouting at the crew and the captain not to leave, but the crew members did not listen,” Oledan said.

“I heard the passengers tell the crew that ‘it is better to stay here, let’s not go on,’ ” said Florencio Lugo, 62, a farmer who clung to wreckage for 19 hours to survive the raging storm.

Passengers said the crew played tape recordings over the ship’s loudspeaker of “The Lord’s Prayer” and “Hail Mary” as storm waves pummeled and finally sank the 22-year-old vessel.

“I cannot believe it. It’s normal procedure to take shelter,” an official of the owners commented.

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“The captain is not stupid. He’s trained to do those things. It’s common sense,” Sulpicio Lines District Manager Carlos Go said in Manila. “If they were pleading, I’m sure he tried to do something.”


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