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Lest We Forget: The ML Gretchen I Tragedy

On this very day 26 years ago, the maritime tragedy of the ML Gretchen I happened. Owned by the Louie and Clarita Quiamco Shipping Lines, ML Gretchen I sank near Cadiz City in the province of Negros Occidental. Old and wooden, the ferry capsized due to high winds as it awaited the high tide to dock.

According to AP News, ML Gretchen I “was carrying more than 200 people – more than twice its legal capacity – from Batanyan Island in Cebu province to Cadiz”. The ferry was also in a deteriorated state, as mentioned by unidentified survivors.

In addition to the rotting wood, the ferry had no public address system and its instruments and engine had never undergone an overhal (Tangbawan, 1996).

The ferry was also supposed to sail at 9 in the morning but for some reasons it sailed eight hours late – leaving Bantayan at around 5 in the afternoon.

There were a total recorded of 54 casualties.



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