ZAMBOANGA CITY—Thirty fishermen were plucked out of sea after the boat they were riding capsized off Jolo, Sulu, on Sunday but two of their companions might have died in the incident, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) here reported on Monday.
Lt. (j.g.) Jomark Angue, PCG commander here, said they had suspected that the sinking of FB Uni-18 was brought about by “human error,” as the weather was fine in Sulu on Sunday.
He said based on the account of the survivors, they were retrieving their fishnets when the vessel severely moved sideward.
“Engineer Renato Villalobos, FB Uni-18’s chief engineer, reportedly rushed to the engine room to assist the oiler, Ireneo Buhayan, who was also in charge of the ship’s ballast tank. He allegedly found out that Buhayan fell asleep and it was too late to make corrective measures, as the boat capsized in a matter of minutes,” Angue said, recounting what the survivors had told him.
A ballast tank is a compartment on sea vessels, which holds water and mainly serves as a balancer.
He said only Villalobos and Buhayan remained missing and the suspicion was they could be dead by now.
“The two men might have been stuck in the engine room and there’s a slim chance for them to survive,” Angue said.
Despite this, he said rescue teams were continuing their search of the area where the boat might have sank. Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao