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14 Filipinos still missing after boat collided with HK vessel off Mindoro

29 June 2020

By The SUN

The upturned hull of the Liberty 5 boat off Occidental Mindoro (PCG photo)
A search and rescue operation is still underway off Occidental Mindoro for 14 Filipinos, mostly fishermen, after their boat, F/V Liberty 5, collided with a Hong Kong-registered vessel early yesterday, Jun 28.

The Philippine Coast Guard said the collision happened off the coast of Mamburao as the fishing boat was on its way to Navotas from Cagayan.

The Hong Kong vessel M/V Vienna Wood, which departed from Subic and was supposedly on its way to Australia, had been escorted by the PCG to Batangas for further investigation.

Pindutin para sa detalye!

PCG spokesperson, Commodore Arman Balilo, said they were in close coordination with the Hong Kong vessel.

However, initial reports said the PCG had difficulty communicating with the Chinese-speaking Vienna Wood crew. But ultimately, the crew reportedly denied knowing about the collision with the fishing vessel.

Balilo said the sunken boat had 12 crew members, including the captain, as well as two passengers.
"Some of our rescue personnel already sighted the overturned fishing boat," he added. "We will check the vicinity to find out the whereabouts of the fishermen involved," said Balilo.
Aerial search is also being carried out to locate the 14 missing people aboard the fishing boat
Another report cited the general manager of the company that owns F/V Liberty Cinco, as saying that their boat was badly damaged when it was hit by the Hong Kong vessel at 1am on Sunday.

Fermin Soto of boat owner Irma Fishing and Trading, told DZRH radio that the Vienna Woods left the badly damaged Liberty Cinco adrift at sea.

The company reportedly started searching for the boat after it missed its scheduled radio call to port, and failed to pull into the Navotas Fish Port as scheduled at 7 am.

The company’s other boats that rushed to the Liberty Cinco's last reported location off Cape Calavite in Occidental Mindoro reported seeing some debris from the boat, but there were no signs of its passengers.

PCG divers arrived to inspect the capsized boat at around 4 pm Monday, but did not find the missing crew.
Soto said there was major damage on the boat, with the middle section of its hull badly caved in.

The PCG also reportedly noticed some damage on the Vienna Wood’s prow, which might indicate the angle from which it hit the Liberty Cinco.

Contacted for comment, the Department of Foreign Affairs said, "We need to verify the details of the incident first."

On June 9 last year, Chinese fishing vessel Yuemaobinyu 42212 hit Philippine fishing boat Gem-Ver while it was anchored on Recto Bank off Palawan. The Chinese vessel left Gem-Ver's 22 Filipino crew members adrift at sea, where they were later rescued by a Vietnamese fishing boat. 

The fishermen still have to receive compensation from the owners of the Chinese vessel to this day.

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