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63 rescued from drifting ferry

All 63 passengers and crew of a disabled inter-island ferry were rescued Friday after drifting for eight hours off Surigao Del Norte province, the Coast Guard said Saturday.

Chief Petty Officer Vivencio Bionaldo, deputy station commander of the Coast Guard station in Surigao City, told the Inquirer by telephone that the passengers and crew of the M/V Grand Star 1 were safe and had all been accounted for.

The M/V Grand Star 1, which is owned by Maharlika Shipping, left Liloan port in Southern Leyte around 8 a.m for Lipata port in Surigao City but developed engine trouble two hours later as it was navigating through the Surigao Strait of Bilal Point, prompting the skipper to radio for help.

Bionaldo said the rescue went smoothly because of good weather, but it was not immediately clear why it took eight hours to reach the drifting vessel.

The vessel has been towed by its sister vessel M/V Grand Star 5 to Lipata port and was undergoing repairs, Bionaldo said. (Franklin Caliguid)

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