Mabuhay sunset

Sinking of cruiseship off Cebu marks end of Chiongbian shipping empire.

Reports from the Philippines indicate that the 7,262-grt cruiseship Mabuhay Sunshine (built 1983) has sunk at its dock on Mactan Island, near to the city of Cebu.

The ship, which is owned by Filipino shipping magnate Victor Chiongbian, is said to have sprung a leak and is now sitting party submerged alongside a pier.

No casualties have been reported.

The Mabuhay Sunshine has been in cold lay-up since the closure of Chiongbian’s Mabuhay Holiday Cruises (MHC) in 1997.

Numerous attempts to sell the ship since then have proven fruitless. Sources say that the ship was well maintained during its first decade of idleness but has since deteriorated considerably.

The ship was originally built as the Japanese cruiseship Sunshine Fuji and was sold to MHC in 1993.

Its sinking spells the end of the Chiongbian family’s long involvement in Filipino shipping through companies such as William Lines, WG&A Superferry and MHC. Their business interests are now focussed on the land-based logistics and automotive sectors.