Coast Guard to continue search for missing fishermen in Palawan

Jorge Carino, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 31 2022 02:11 PM

A Filipino fishing vessel collided with MV Happy Hiro, a cargo sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands, off the waters of Maracanao Island in Agutaya town, Palawan, on May 28, 2022, leaving seven crew members missing, according to the Philippine Coast Guard. Photo courtesy of the Philippine Coast Guard
A Filipino fishing vessel collided with MV Happy Hiro, a cargo sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands, off the waters of Maracanao Island in Agutaya town, Palawan, on May 28, 2022, leaving seven crew members missing, according to the Philippine Coast Guard. Photo courtesy of the Philippine Coast Guard

MANILA -The Philippine Coast Guard said on Tuesday that authorities will push through with the search and rescue operations for seven fishermen who went missing after their boat collided with a cargo vessel off the waters of Palawan over the weekend.

In an interview, Coast Guard spokesman Commodore Armand Balilo said they have doubled the coverage of the search area and deployed BRP Cape Bojeador to augment the vessels involved in the operation.

“Nagdagdag din po kami ng additional na barko para tumulong dun sa paghahanap pa dun sa fishermen. Sa ngayon po, wala pa rin pong nahahanap na mga palatandaan kung nasaan yung mga nawawalang fishermen," he said. 

(We deployed additional boats to help us search for the fishermen. As of now, we haven't see any signs of the whereabouts of the missing fishermen yet.)

"Nilakihan na din po natin yung coverage. Dinoble po yung coverage kahapon. At magpapatuloy po tayo hanggang 'di sinasabi na i-terminate itong Search and Rescue Operations nung ground commander," Balilo added.

(We increased the scope of our search, we doubled it. We won't stop until the commander terminates it.)

He said the PCG is working side by side with units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the search. They covered 92 square miles in the search on Monday.

But he acknowledged that they are facing a great challenge.

“Malalim masyado yung pinaglubugan. At kung tama po yung accounts ng mga ilang survivors, na baka maaring nasama sa paglubog nung fishing vessel yung mga kasama nila, eh magiging challenge po talaga sa atin. Mahirap."

(The area is too deep, and if the survivors' accounts are correct, the fishermen may have sunk with the vessel.)

"Sapagkat beyond the ordinary diving capability ng isang human diver para suungin yung lalim ng pinaglubugan,” he said.

(The area is beyond the diving capability of a human diver.)

The PCG said on Saturday that the Filipino fishing vessel FB JOT-18 collided with MV Happy Hiro, a cargo sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands, off the waters of Maracanao Island in Agutaya town.

A transiting fishing boat provided immediate rescue assistance to 13 out of 20 crew members. The majority of the distressed fishermen of FB JOT-18 are residents of Bantayan Island, Cebu. 

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