PCG search on for missing fishermen who collided with Hong Kong-flagged ship

JC Gotinga
PCG search on for missing fishermen who collided with Hong Kong-flagged ship
(4th UPDATE) The Philippine Coast Guard identifies the cargo vessel as Hong Kong-registered MV Vienna Wood, as it searches for the 14 missing crew of fishing boat Liberty 5 off Mindoro

MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Monday morning, June 29 resumed search operations for the 14 missing Filipino crew of a fishing boat that collided with a cargo ship off Mindoro before dawn Sunday, June 28.

The PCG identified the cargo vessel as MV Vienna Wood, registered in Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China.

The PCG ship BRP Boracay has been deployed to the waters off Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro to search for the missing Filipinos. An aerial search has also been launched using the coast guard’s Islander plane and a light twin-engine helicopter, while another vessel will be added to the effort, PCG spokesperson Commodore Arman Balilo said in a message to reporters early Monday.

The PCG has issued a Notice to Mariners, asking all vessels in the area to be on the lookout for the missing persons, and to report any information on the incident.

The Vienna Wood had left Subic and was sailing to Australia when it collided with the Philippine fishing boat Liberty 5, Balilo said. An earlier report from the PCG Southern Tagalog said the collision happened at around 1 am on Sunday in Cape Calavite near Mamburao.

The Vienna Wood’s captain reported the incident, Balilo said. The vessel, which carried no cargo at the time of the incident, has been escorted by the PCG to the Batangas Port at around 12:30 pm.

CAPSIZED. The upturned hull of the Philippine fishing boat Liberty 5 spotted on Sunday, June 28, after it collided with a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship. Photo from the Philippine Coast Guard

Based in Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi, the Liberty 5 pulled out of Kinapusan Island on Friday morning, June 26, according to its company general manager Fermin Soto. The boat was en route to the Navotas Fish Port when the collision happened, Balilo said.

The fishing boat’s owner Irma Fishing and Trading first flagged it as missing after it failed to pull into the Navotas Fish Port where it was expected to dock at 7 am Sunday.

The capsized boat was found at around 10 am but there were no signs of the missing crew members. A dive search began Sunday afternoon but had to be called off at nightfall, the PCG Southern Tagalog earlier told Rappler.

The Liberty 5 was severely damaged, with the middle section of its hull caved in, initial reports said. – Rappler.com

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JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.