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12 in PH fishing boat missing after collision with foreign vessel in Occidental Mindoro

/ 11:23 PM June 28, 2020

Updated @ 11:40 p.m., Sunday, June 28, 2020

SAN PEDRO CITY, Laguna, Philippines — Twelve crew members of a fishing boat from Tawi-Tawi went missing Sunday night after their boat collided with a bulk carrier with a Chinese crew aboard in the vicinity of Occidental Mindoro.

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In a phone interview, Commodore Leovegildo Panopio, Coast Guard District Commander for Southern Tagalog, said the incident happened around noon.

The missing fishermen were employees of the Irma Fishing and Trading Company based in Navotas.

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The other vessel was identified as MV Vienna, a bulk carrier sailing under the flag of Hong Kong.

“It’s (MV Vienna’s supposed) destination was outside the country,” Panopio said.

Occidental Mindoro Gov. Eduardo Gadiano, in a separate phone interview Sunday evening, said his office received reports between 7 to 8 p.m. about the sea collision, which happened about 15 miles, or about24 kilometers, from Paluan town.

Gadiano said local disaster response teams and community hospitals in Paluan, Mamburao and Lubang Island have been alerted for possible survivors.

Meanwhile, Panopio said: “When our [team] arrived in the area, they still saw the fishing boat capsized but did not find anyone anymore. The [fishing boat] sank around 18:30.”

Panopio said the search and rescue operation was halted Sunday evening due to a strong current, but it would resume early Monday.

The Philippine Coast Guard “held” in the custody the foreign vessel and its crew  “because they have a liability,” Panopio said.

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He said MV Vienna would be brought in to Coast Guard’s Batangas headquarters on Monday.

In June 2019, a Filipino fishing boat Gem-Ver 1, also from Occidental Mindoro, was rammed by a Chinese trawler at Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea.

The Chinese boat left the Filipino fishermen in the water for hours until a Vietnamese boat came to their rescue.

/atm

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