'No survivors found' from PH fishing boat after collision, cargo ship agency says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 30 2020 04:32 AM | Updated as of Jun 30 2020 08:33 AM

This undated handout photo released by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on June 29, 2020 shows the capsized fishing boat Liberty 5 after its collision with a cargo ship registered in Hong Kong off the coast of Mindoro island, southwest of Manila. Philippine Coast Guard handout via AFP

MANILA (UPDATE) - The agency managing a Hong Kong-registered cargo ship on Tuesday said the vessel's crew tried to search for survivors after it collided with a fishing boat off Mamburao town in Occidental Mindoro on June 28.

AM Nomikos, which manages the bulk carrier MV Vienna Wood N, said in a statement that as the cargo ship was sailing off the coast of Occidental Mindoro, it crashed into an "object what they had thought to be a fishing boat."

"Vienna Wood N stopped and the crew conducted an emergency damage assessment. The collision was reported soon after to Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), Manila," it said.

Due to the collision, AM Nomikos said the Vienna Wood crew had to conduct damage assessment before returning to the location of the collision to search for survivors.

"An overturned hull of what appeared to be a small vessel was spotted and reported to the Coast Guard, no survivors have been found," it said.

AM Nomikos said Vienna Wood N remained in the area and waited for the Philippine Coast Guard to arrive.

"Once the Coast Guard arrived, Vienna Wood N remained on scene until cleared to sail to a nearby port for surveys and repairs of the damages she sustained. She was escorted by the Coast Guard to Batangas Bay, Philippines," it added.

The MV Vienna Wood N is a 55,768 dwt, Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier built in 2011, according to AM Nomikos.

The agency said its managers, crew and other staff are "cooperating fully with authorities" for the ongoing investigation.

"Our thoughts are very much with the missing individuals and with their families," AM Nomikos said.

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Fermin Soto, owner of Liberty-5, said the Philippine Coast Guard found that the ship's pilot house was severely damaged.

"Kung 'yun ang pagbabasehan na sitwasyon, yun ang tinamaan ng pagkabunggo kaya sila ay tumaob," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(If we will base it on that situation, that's where the cargo ship hit which was why the fishing boat capsized.)

"Isa rin pong nagkaroon ng butas 'yung unahan ng cargo base na 'yun ang tumama po dun sa gitna, kaliwa ng Liberty-5 na dahilan na tumaob."

(The cargo base also had a hole, which must have hit the center and left side of Liberty-5, causing it to capsize.)

Soto said his company is looking for witnesses.

"Kung tutuusin talagang kayang iwasan 'yan, baka naman nagiiwas, di rin makaiwas. Hindi natin masabi. Naghahanap din kami ng witness po," he said.

(It might have been avoided, they may have tried to avoid it but they can't. We can't say. We're looking for witnesses.)

Soto said his firm is scheduled to meet with local officials from the fishermen's hometowns, mostly in Palawan.

He clarified that the 2 passengers were also employees of the company who were about to return home and take their leave of absence.

Philippine authorities have deployed aircraft and ships in the hunt for the missing people on the fishing boat Liberty 5, who included 12 Filipino crew members and two passengers.

Strong ocean currents interrupted the search Sunday evening, but operations resumed early Monday. --With a report from Agence France-Presse