2015: Bad start for Filipino seafarers
MANILA, Philippines – Four days into 2015, Filipinos have already been involved in five sea accidents, with at least two ending in tragedy.
So far, three have died in two incidents.
MV Sea Merchant
First to hit the news was the sinking of the MV Sea Merchant, a cargo ship transporting 20,000 bags of cement from Bauang, Batangas, to Antique.
The Sea Merchant was buffeted by big waves between Lobo in Batangas and Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, at about 4 p.m. on New Year’s Day.
Its crew of 20 managed to escape on two boats before the ship went under the rough sea.
Nineteen of the crew were rescued but the chief engineer, identified by the Philippine Coast Guard as Almarito Anciano, was recovered dead.
Later that day, huge waves battered the cargo boat MV Calatraba as it sought refuge off Pola, Oriental Mindoro.
The Calatraba left Batangas port and was bound for Corcuera, Romblon, when it encountered bad weather, forcing it to seek shelter, the Coast Guard said.
Rough seas managed to dump water into the boat which eventually sank.
All 15 crew members of the boat were safe, the Coast Guard added.
On Friday night an international carrier, the Bulk Jupiter, sank off the coast of southern Vietnam. It was carrying an all-Filipino crew of 19 members.
Only one crew member, chief cook Angelito Rojas, has been rescued.
The ship captain identified as Ronel Acueza Andrin and his deputy Jerome Maquilang Dincy have been declared dead by Vietnamese authorities. The bodies of the victims were recovered by international search and rescue crews.
As of Monday morning, rescuers were still trying to find 16 crew members.
On Saturday, international wire news agencies reported that a Filipino seaman was among eight crew members of a cargo ship, the Cypriot-registered Cemfjord, which capsized off the northeastern coast of Scotland in the British Isles.
The Filipino was not identified and search and rescue efforts were scheduled to continue Sunday.
Cemfjord, an 83-meter long cement carrier, was on its way to deliver its cargo from Denmark to Runcorn in the northwest English coast when it overturned off the town of Wick.
Rescuers said weather was bad at the time the ship capsized.
And on Sunday morning, the motor banca (boat) MB Jonalyn with 57 persons on board sank near Burias Island in Masbate at about 3 a.m.
A Coast Guard report said, the Jonalyn, which was loaded with 200 sacks of copra (dried coconut meat), had just left the port of San Pascual in Burias for Pasacao, Camarines Sur, when it hit a floating log.
The log reportedly punctured the wooden hull of the boat but boat captain Sulpicio Eliot Sr. did not notice the hole until water had filled the boat which sank three kilometers away from port.
All five crew members and 52 passengers were rescued, the Coast Guard said.
Officer killed, 19 crew saved in cargo ship sinking
Boat carrying ‘copra’ sinks near Burias Island; all crew, passengers safe
All-Filipino crew in sinking ship
Filipino among 8 missing in Britain ship mishap
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