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Officer dies as ship sinks off Batangas, Mindoro

SAN PEDRO CITY—A ship officer died after a cargo vessel with 20 crewmen sank in waters between Mindoro Oriental and Batangas Thursday afternoon, the Philippine Coast Guard said Friday.

Captain Gregorio Adel Jr., head of the Philippine Coast Guard in Batangas, identified the victim as Almarito Anciano, chief engineer of the ill-fated MV Sea Merchant.

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The 19 other crew members were rescued separately after the two life boats they were in got separated in rough waters after the ship sank.

First to be rescued were 11 crewmen, including chief mate Celso Rey Baysa, who were picked up by a passenger ship as they drifted near Lobo, Batangas, late Thursday. They have been taken in by the Coast Guard, Adel said.

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With Baysa were Rommel Zoleta, Constantino Torres, Philip Solomon, Lester John Carinos , Manny Mendiola, Ronnie Lebguban, Franklin Ibaṅez, Rochie Jakosalem, John Patrick Saklot and Leonard Roma.

According to Adel, the nine other crewmen led by ship captain Luzvimindo Casipong were found by rescuers in the waters between Verde island, Batangas, and Mindoro Friday morning. The body of Anciano was with them.The nine were earlier reported missing.

According to Adel, the Antique-bound MV Sea Merchant loaded with 20,000 bags of cement was allowed to sail from Bauan, Batangas, at around noon Thursday because the weather was “fine.” However, the weather turned bad at about 4 p.m. as the ship was near Calapan City.

Citing survivor accounts, Adel said the ship started to list because of the waves. “It started to take on water and the captain ordered them to abandon the ship,” he said.

MV Sea Merchant was owned by Fortune Sea Carrier Inc.

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TAGS: Batangas, cargo ship sinks, Mindoro, MV Sea Merchant, sea mishap, ship sinking
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