OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, Philippines – After surviving the assault of an Chinese boat and staying at sea for 17 days straight, the crewmen of F/B Gem-Ver are now home in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.
They arrived at the Caminawit port in San Jose around 8 pm Friday.
The men of F/B Gem-Ver first traveled at sea on May 29 for a fishing trip of at least 15 days. On the 12th day, they were rammed by a Chinese fishing ship which sailed away immediately after. Hours later, they were rescued by a Vietnamese fishing vessel and turned over to the Philippine Navy.
Since then, they had been staying inside the Navy’s BRP Ramon Alcaraz. After days of resting and “debriefing,” they were finally sent home to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. They were met by their wives who have been restless since learning the news about the incident. (READ: Wives wait in limbo for fishermen of sunken vessel to come home)
The crew’s captain Junel Insigne has asked the public and President Rodrigo Duterte for help after their ordeal. He said he is now afraid to sail again after the incident.
“Baka mangyari ulit ang ganitong pagbabangga (Another one like this might happen again),” Insigne said.
He said they don’t have other livelihood alternatives because they only rely on the sea. (READ: Captain of abandoned PH boat: I’m sure Chinese ship sank us)
“‘Yan lang kasi ang hanapbuhay namin eh. Talagang mapipilitan kaming maghanapbuhay talaga diyan sa dagat (That’s our only source of livelihood. We will really be forced to work there in the sea),” he said.
All except one of the 22-man crew have reached San Jose. Their machine man stayed in the barely floating F/B Gem-Ver for repairs while it is being towed by another fishing boat back to its home port.
The boat is expected to return by Saturday, June 15. – Rappler.com
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