injection-plastic model kit
Sun Flower 11 as built was 13,598 GRT; 640 feet long, with a beam of 78 feet 9 inches. Twin screw powered by MAN diesel engines, producing 36,000 bhp, providing a service speed of 25 knots. She had accommodation for 1,124 passengers in one class, with a crew of 87. She could carry 192 cars and 85 trucks.
Most Philippine ferries are ex-Japanese vessels. Princess of the Orient was built as the luxury ferry Sun Flower 11 and was delivered in September 1974 to Nihon Kosoku Ferry for their Osaka to Kagoshima service. Unfortunately the 1973 oil crisis and a steep drop in tourist numbers had a very adverse effect on the finances of the Japanese luxury ferry operations. Sun Flower 11 changed Japanese owners several times, before being sold to Sulpicio in 1993.
The owners of Princess of the Orient were the Philippine shipping company, Sulpicio Lines, who were notorious for overloading their vessels. The company also holds the record for the highest peacetime death toll of any shipping line in the world killing more 5,300 people . As a result of the loss of Princess of the Stars the company’s passenger operating licence has currently been reduced to one vessel.
The Philippines was suffering from Tropical Storm Vicki, as Princess of the Orient sailed from Manila, at 20:00 hours on 18 September 1998, bound for Cebu with 388 passengers and 102 crew. About midnight she reported that she was listing uncontrollably; at 00:55 the next morning, she capsized and sank off Fortune Island, near Batangas at the exit from the Bay of Manila. It is believed that the ship’s cargo shifted, making her unstable. 150 lifes were lost!