3 workers drown in Semirara barge in Antique - report | Inquirer News
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3 workers drown in Semirara barge in Antique – report

/ 08:54 AM September 23, 2016
LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE File photo shows the Semirara open-pit coal mine where five workers went missing and never found after a landslide in February 2013. A similar episode happened on Friday at the same site in the DMCI-owned Semirara Mining and Power Corp in Antique. RAFFY LERMA

Semirara open-pit coal mine of the DMCI-owned Semirara Mining and Power Corp in Antique. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/ RAFFY LERMA

ILOILO CITY — Three workers drowned inside a barge on Semirara Island in Caluya town in Antique on Wednesday, last week (Sept. 14), according to a police report obtained by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Thursday (Sept. 22).

The three workers, all crew members of the tugboat MT Phite owned by the DMC-Construction Equipment Resources Inc., died on Sept. 14 when they inhaled poisonous gas and drowned, a report of the Caluya, Antique police station to the Antique Provincial Police Office stated.

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The fatalities were identified as Paulino Mutyangpili Jr., 28; John Paul Gallano, 21; and Aemiell Baunsit, 27.

The three were among crew members who conducted an inspection and repair of the barge SB Alexi docked at the Semirara Mining and Power Corp. (SMPC) pier at Barangay Semirara on Semirara Island.

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One of the three workers went down through a manhole to inspect the presence of seawater in the vacuum tank of the barge. But he fell from the ladder prompting the two other workers to go down in an attempt to rescue him, the police report stated.

But the two other workers also fell into the water inside the tank of the barge.

The report did not identify who among the workers first fell inside the tank of the barge and the two others who followed.

Other crew members retrieved the three workers using underwater diving equipment and brought them to the SMPC Hospital.

Dr. Ma. Thessa Carla Mae Passion, the attending physician, pronounced the workers dead on arrival.

Last week’s deaths were the third reported major accident in Semirara in the past three years.

Nine SMPC workers died on July 17, 2015 after excavated soil and part of the northern Panian open mine pit collapsed, burying the workers and heavy equipment.

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On Feb. 13, 2013, five workers died and five others remain missing and are presumed dead following the collapse of the western wall of the Panian pit.

Government agencies have cleared the SMPC of liabilities in the two previous accidents but have directed the company to institute additional safety measures.

The mining firm has been operating one of the biggest coal mines in Asia on Semirara Island since 1999 after it took over the then government-owned Semirara Coal Corp. (SCC). The company employs nearly 3,000 workers.

At least 96 percent of locally produced coal is supplied by SMPC.  SFM

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TAGS: Accident, accident fatalities, Aemiell Baunsit, antique, Antique Provincial Police, Barangay Semirara, Caluya Municipal Police, Caluya municipality, coal, crew members, dead on arrival, DMC-Construction Equipment Resources Inc., DOA, Dr. Ma. Thessa Carla Mae Passion, drowning, gas inhalation, inhalation of poisonous gas, John Paul Gallano, Mining, Mining and quarrying, MT Phite, News, Paulino Mutyangpili Jr., poisonous gas inhalation, Quarrying, Regions, SB Alexi, Semirara Island, Semirara Mining and Power Corp., SMPC, SMPC Hospital, tugbout
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