HELSINKI - The Philippine Consular Offices in Finland confirmed on Thursday that a Filipino national died in a harbor accident at the seaport town of Rauma, 352 kilometers from the capital of Helsinki.
Although the police did not reveal the victim's nationality, ABS-CBN Europe, through the deceased's brother in South Cotabato, identified the victim as Nikko Dave Maria Necosia.
Necosia, a deck officer aboard the Dutch freight Lady Christina, died at Rauma harbor in a fatal work accident on Nov. 15 at around 10:45 a.m., the Finnish regional newspaper Satakunnankansa.fi reported. He was reportedly crushed between the closing hatch covers of the ship docked at the Rauma Harbor. Initial reports from Finnish newspapers only identified the victim as a" foreign male worker."
"As in similar earlier cases, the embassy and consulate has been informed by the authorities about the incident and are doing all necessary measures for the repatriation of the remains of the deceased," Honorary Consul Teresita Ruutu told ABS-CBN Europe.
Jyrki Kupila, Honorary Consul General in Finland, meanwhile, said "(they) are not in a position to give any statements regarding the accident."
ABS-CBN News Europe Bureau sent an email for an official statement to the Philippine embassy in Oslo regarding the incident but it has yet to get a reply.
Rauma Police led by Station Chief Marko Peltonen have initiated an investigation, and according to them there is no reason to suspect a crime. Thus, the cargo ship in the harbor port of Petäjästö prepared for departure immediately to Pietarsaari, according to Finnish reporters from Satakunnan Kansa, Eeva Järvenpää and Kari Suni in Rauma.
"The police will continue to investigate the accidental death of a sailor in the Dutch cargo ship in Rauma," Peltonen told the local media.
In a telephone interview, Peltonen said Necosia's case is still open and all details of the investigation will not be available to the public pending the results of the probe and that the investigation may take up to weeks or months.
Asked if any of the ship's representatives are available for inquiries on the incident, he said he cannot comment further, citing the police website as the only official media source at this time.
Another report in Finnish from Finland's public broadcasting company YLE quoted Rauma harbor Manager Hannu Asumalahti saying the vessel where the accident occurred was bringing raw materials for the paper industry to Rauma.
He also said fatal accidents at work in the port are rare, citing only one similar incident in his career spanning 20 years.
Members of the Finnish-Philippine Association (FPA) and local Facebook groups have expressed sadness and shock over the reports of Necosia's death.
Overseas Filipino worker Janet Andog asked about procedures of deceased repatriation papers with regard to employer role, "Ano ang tulong na mabibigay?"
Pinay resident Elena Kalliomäki also said that for her, "it is the employer's responsibility (to give assistance) if he is a contract worker."
Filipino residents in Finland added that they only heard about the death as it was mentioned by a priest that a Pinoy died in Rauma.
The embassy representatives have not informed the 3,000-strong Pinoy community in Helsinki and are reluctant to disclose more details about the accident.
In a statement, the brother of the victim Theodore Keith Necosia said, "the family is beyond grief in the untimely death of Nikko" whom he described as "loving, cheerful, responsible son and brother."
He also expressed the family's immediate concern is the "speedy repatriation of the remains of my brother and to know the result of the cause of death of Nikko."
Necosia also disclosed that he was informed of his brother's manning agency in Oslo that his brother's"remains will be released on November 24 and that our entrepreneur in Finland will transfer the body after the result of the Forensic Institute Turku to Helsinki and start with the documents necessary."
It also said that they"expect Mr. Necosia somewhere in the course of next week to be able to transport (him)" and that "the family will be informed."
Workplace safety in Finland is one of the highest in the world with fewer occupational accidents compared to other OECD countries, according to European Observatory of Working Life report.
ABS-CBN Europe have also contacted the Finnish Seafarers' Union FSU Merimies-Unioni and Meriemieskirkko for further comments on seafarers safety in Finnish waters. --With reports from Macel Ingles, ABS-CBN News; ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau