16 foreign crew rescued from distressed Sierra Leone chemical tanker
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Sixteen foreign crew members of a chemical tanker that was flying the Sierra Leone flag arrived here on Sunday, November 19, after they were rescued Saturday, November 18, when their vessel was in distress 81 nautical miles west-northwest of Badoc Island in Ilocos Norte.
According to Van Swandi, the captain of MT King Rich, the propeller shaft of their vessel broke and the water started to enter the engine room.
All his crew tried to pump out water from the vessel’s ballast but it was not enough to take out the water, prompting them to abandon their ship.
Swandi said in an interview that before they left, they made sure that the engine and gasoline tank of the vessel would not leak and cause oil slick. The tanker itself was not transporting any chemicals and was empty when the incident happened.
They were all on board their life rafts when crew members of MV Sheng An, a Hong Kong-flagged vessel, going to this free port rescued them at 5:22 p.m.
The MV Sheng An arrived at the Subic Freeport at 11 a.m. with the rescued crew.
The rescued crew, who were Indonesians and Chinese nationals, are now safe and will temporarily stay in a hotel here while waiting for their repatriation.
For acts of heroism, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) through CG CDR Euphraim Jayson Diciano, commander of a sub-station in Zambales province, awarded a certificate of recognition to Captain Zhang Xiayo of MV Sheng An.