The body of a female crew of the ill-fated M/V Lite Ferry 3 was retrieved after the ship capsized shortly after it arrived at the port of Ormoc. (photo by John Piliapil)  

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Eastern Visayas has started its investigation of the ill-fated M/V Lite Ferry 3 that capsized at the port of Ormoc City, Leyte claiming the life of a crew member.

In a statement, Danilo Lines Inc. or Lite Shipping Corporation said that the ship started to tilt on one side shortly after arriving at the port at around midnight Saturday. “At the moment, the vessel is partially submerged in the water.” 

Capt. Angel Viliran, Commander of PGC District Eastern Visayas, said the ship came from Ouano Wharf in Mandaue City, Cebu, with 16 crew. 

Viliran said only 15 seafarers were rescued by responders, while the ship’s purser, Raquel Alo, 33, a native of Balilihan, Bohol, went missing. 

A few hours later, Alo’s remains were retrieved from the ship’s cargo hold, where she was believed to have been pinned by cargo.  

Investigators are looking into the possibility that the ship’s cargo was dislodged on the way to Ormoc because of the rough sea condition. 

Viliran said they are waiting for the ship’s official incident report while the crew is recovering from the incident. 

Lite Shipping Corp. assured the public its cooperation in the ongoing investigation and promised its assistance to the bereaved family of Alo. “The company, together with the Philippine Coast Guard, is still trying to investigate the cause of the incident. There were no passengers on board the vessel but [it] was loaded with cargo,” Lite shipping said. 

In 2015, at least 38 people were killed at the same waters after M/B Kim Nirvana, loaded with passengers and cargo, also capsized off the shores of the city a few minutes after setting sail. – Ryan Sorote