PCG: Look after mentally handicapped companions when on ship | Inquirer News

PCG: Look after mentally handicapped companions when on ship

Sea travel for small vessels still suspended in Southern Luzon

Philippine Coast Guard. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

LUCENA CITY — A Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) official reminded sea travelers to always be mindful of children or mentally-handicapped companions aboard sea vessels.

Captain Jerome Jeciel, commander of PCG-Batangas, in an advisory on Wednesday night, Nov. 1, emphasized “the importance of vigilance when traveling with companions, especially individuals with special needs or children.”


Jeciel made the announcement after receiving information that the missing passenger of MV Maligaya, who fell into the sea in the vicinity of Calatagan town on Tuesday afternoon, had a mental health problem.


Jeciel disclosed that the missing passenger, Mark Bernard Gerona, 26, (not Ralph as earlier reported by the PCG) is “suffering from mental health issues.”

He said the information was confirmed by Gerona’s brother, who was also onboard the vessel.

The victim, who was last seen wearing a black shirt was “left unattended and jumped from the ship’s right side” while it was sailing in the vicinity of Calatagan town, the PCG report said.

He asked the passengers to refrain from approaching railings or engaging in unsafe behavior as the ship staff may not always be readily available for assistance.

MV Maligaya, a cargo-passenger ship owned by 2GO Shipping Corporation left Manila for Bacolod with 425 passengers and 126 crew members.

On Wednesday, the PCG reported that it had mobilized its fast patrol boat, BRP Boracay (FPB 2401), in the waters near Calatagan to continue the search.


The PCG also advised all sea vessels passing in the Calatagan waters to be on the lookout for the missing passenger and to report to the nearest station once he is sighted.

The PCG suspended the search and rescue operation for Gerona on Tuesday night due to poor visibility.


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Authorities issue safety reminders to boat passengers

TAGS: Philippine Coast Guard, sea travel

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