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RV 'Petrel' found wreck of 'Asian Titanic' - video

A team of scientists from the RV Petrel research unit found and inspected the wrecks of the M/V Doña Paz and the M/T Vector, which killed 4386 people in the disaster. The collision and sinking of the ferry and tanker occurred in 1987, and due to the huge number of victims, the media christened it
Published: December 21, 2019 - 12:15
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 19:00
RV ‘Petrel’ found wreck of ‘Asian Titanic’ – video

A team of scientists from the RV Petrel research unit found and inspected the wrecks of the M/V Doña Paz and the M/T Vector, which killed 4386 people in the disaster. The collision and sinking of the ferry and tanker occurred in 1987, and due to the huge number of victims, the media christened it the Asian Titanic.

Owned by Vulcan Inc. and established by Paul Allen, a team of researchers scouring the depths of the seas and oceans with the modern and well-equipped vessel R/V Petrel, collaborated with the National Museum of the Philippines on this expedition. The aim was to inspect, thoroughly investigate and collect documentation at the site of the sinking of M/V Doña Paz and M/T Vector.

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The discovery of the two wrecks is the latest success in a long list of achievements by the RV Petrel crew, although a slightly different one, as until now the researchers have specialised in finding World War II shipwrecks. The passenger ferry and tanker collided on 20 December 1987 in the Tablas Strait. According to official figures, 4386 people died in the disaster and only 24 were rescued.

“During our search for World War II shipwrecks that sank in the Philippine Sea, people often asked us to start a search for the Doña Paz and told stories about their loved ones who died in the disaster. We were honoured to assist the Philippine government in this mission and hope that this news will close a chapter in the lives of the families and loved ones of the victims.” – said Robert Kraft, director of underwater operations at Vulcan Inc.

The disaster occurred when the heavily overloaded Doña Paz sailed from the island of Leyte to the Philippine capital Manila. The burning oil spread from the oil tanker Vector to the ferry. According to reports, people reportedly jumped overboard directly into the burning water to save themselves.

The wrecks of both vessels were located in the waters of the Sibuyan Sea, at a depth of 500 metres. They settled evenly on the keel on the bottom, becoming silent witnesses to the tragedy that took place here 32 years ago.

The RV Petrel crew has discovered more than 30 sunken warships. Their list of previous discoveries includes the legendary American vessels USS Indianapolis, USS Lexington, USS Juneau, USS Helena, USS Hornet and the Japanese aircraft carriers IJN Kaga and IJN Akagi.

Source: paulallen.com

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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