LOCAL officials on Friday admitted that the manifest of the ill-fated MV Lady Mary Joy 3, is making it difficult for them to conduct their search, rescue, and retrieval operations.
“‘Yan ‘yung magiging challenges natin, isa sa mga challenges ng search and rescue or retrieval po sa insidente na to kasi ‘yung manifest po kasi hindi nasusunod,” Mayor Arsina Kahing-Nanoh of Hadji Muhtamad, Basilan said in a television interview.
“‘Yung manifest po na record ng Coast Guard is nasa 205 lang po. ‘Yung na-rescue na po is nasa 195, iba ‘yung mga namatay, so hindi po talaga nagma-match po,” she said.
According to a report from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), it said that as of Thursday, the number of fatalities jumped to 29.
There were 230 survivors were reported in the incident, including the crew aboard the vessel, it added.
Kahing-Nanoh also said that they are still investigating initial reports that the problem emanated from a faulty air conditioning unit.
The PCG earlier said the fire allegedly started at the accommodation area on the second deck of the vessel.
It will be recalled that the MV Lady Mary Joy 3 was on its way to Jolo, Sulu from Zamboanga City on March 29 when it caught fire at around 10:40 p.m. The blaze was declared fire out at 7:30 a.m. on March 30.
Catherine R. Cueto