Three ferry accidents in a week at the end of August highlight the dangers of poorly maintained and overloaded ships to lives
Two accidents involving ferries in the Philippines and a deadly ferry capsize in the Gulf of Guinea have again underlined the shortfalls in safety procedures in the passenger shipping sector worldwide.
One ferry capsized and another was damaged by fire in the Philippines, requiring salvage and search and rescue services.
The latest ferry accident in the Philippines happened on 31 August when roro vehicle and passenger ferry Mika Mari VIII capsized while offloading in Barangay Consuelo in the Camotes Island.
All 149 passengers and 18 crew were saved from the capsized ship by the Philippine Coast Guard, although there were reports of five injuries.
Four vehicles went overboard in the accident. It is thought lorry slips on the ferry cargo deck caused a list on the ship, registered to Jomalia Shipping, and it then rolled and capsized.
A video of the capsize and passenger rescue:
Prior to this, the Philippines Coast Guard dealt with a fire on Lite Ferry 16 on 28 August. The blaze erupted in the engineroom and engulfed the whole ship, while 137 passengers were on board. The ferry was approaching Palauan Port in Dapitan City, Zamboanga at the time, en route from Ceby City.
The Philippines Coast Guard said 112 passengers were rescued but 24 remained missing three hours after the fire was reported. Lite Ferry 16 was acquired by Lite Shipping Corp in 2015.
In a third accident, a ferry capsized in the Gulf of Guinea on 25 August, with more than 90 passengers thought to have perished.
Ferry Austrheim had more than 200 passengers on board when it capsized and sank while sailing from Calabar, Nigeria, to Douala, in Cameroon. Of the 200 passengers, 108 were rescued, three found dead and the rest are missing, according to Fleetmon.
All these maritime accidents underscore the need for higher safety standards in the passenger shipping sector and rapid search and rescue and salvage response in countries worldwide.
Also during the final week of August, several vessels including a dredger, bulk carrier and naval ship grounded and needed assistance from salvage tugs.
Dredger Kanundi DS was grounded in the Aegean Sea, south of the Dardanelles on 1 September after it reported water ingress. This vessel was in danger of sinking off Bozcaada island, Turkey.
Kanundi DS was grounded on the Turkish coast for the safety of its crew, and salvage teams have been mobilised to assist.
In the Netherlands, a bulk carrier was damaged when it struck a harbour dam. San Antonio hit the dam and grounded on 28 August while entering Westbuitenhaven in Terneuzen. The 2012-built bulker was refloated with assistance of tugs and anchored off Terneuzen before being towed to Vlissingen and anchored there for inspection.
On 27 August, Spanish Navy mine sweeper Turia ran aground off Cartagena, Spain, while recovering the wreck of a fighter jet, which crashed two days earlier.
2000-built Turia struck the rocky shore near La Manga, cutting a 10-m long hull breach and several compartments were flooded. The crew abandoned the ship and the Spanish Navy started salvage operations.