Cargo ships' captains face probe over collision

by Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 17 2014 07:46 PM | Updated as of Mar 18 2014 03:46 AM

MANILA - The Philippine Coast Guard is investigating the captains of two local cargo vessels suspected to have collided with the sunken fishing vessel F/B Dan Israel off the coast of Ternate, Cavite on Wednesday.

Coast Guard Commander Armand Balilo told the media that the captains of M/V Ocean Hope and M/V Galaxy Kalikasan were summoned to appear before an investigative panel Monday morning.

Balilo explained that both ships were spotted in the area through radar during the time that the fishing vessel sank.

A team has already conducted underwater inspections of the vessels to check the condition of both ships' propellers and other parts, to establish whether these were involved in a collision.

"Kinukuha din ang mga testimonies ng mga survivors regarding the incident, tinitignan kung anong description ng barko, kulay kung naaalala nila, kung gaano kalaki. Mina-match namin yun sa dalawang barko tinitignan kung considered yun as vessel of interest," Balilo said.

Both vessels are now docked at the Manila North Harbor, but are still allowed to sail during the investigation.

"If the evidence warrants the filing of any case, kahit criminal pa iyan we will do it," Balilo said, added that they have been instructed to complete the investigation as soon as possible.

As of Monday morning, search and retrieval efforts were ongoing for 4 fishermen still missing off the coast of Cavite.

The bodies of 6 fishermen have already been recovered, as fears of a higher death toll mount.