MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The government has deployed at least 5 vessels to locate and recover the 313 fishermen who went missing last week in Mati, Davao Oriental, at the height of Typhoon “Pablo.”
Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said 20 fishermen had been rescued while 313 remain missing, citing a report by Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.
We earlier reported on the 300 missing fishermen (mostly tuna catchers) on December 6, quoting the former president of the South Cotabato Association of Fishing Federation and Allied Industries (SAFFAI).
Marfenio Tan, former president SAFFAI, said that as of Thursday last week, they were still trying to locate a missing tuna catcher fleet that usually have a complement of at least 3 light boats and at least one service boat.
Aside from this missing fleet, another General Santos-City based tuna catcher said they could still not establish contact with the rest of his fishing fleet.
Lacierda said two Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessels had been deployed to conduct search and rescue as well as relief operations in the province of Davao Oriental.
“Three patrol boats of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources manned by PCG personnel have been organized as a task force for the search and rescue of fishermen at sea. The MCS-3009 is already conducting operations in the area,” Lacierda said.
He said two more vessels were expected be dispatched from the port of Mati Monday night. – Rappler.com