The crew of a Japanese ship rescued seven Filipinos from Zamboanga City who went missing for a week after their boat was hit by a floating log in waters off Tawi-Tawi, near the Philippine and Indonesian borders.
Navy Lieutenant Nicheru Brien Claudio, the spokesperson of the Naval Forces in Eastern Mindanao, said the Filipinos set out to sea to test their newly-acquired boat Hermes II when the accident happened more than a week ago.
The boat did not capsize but was flooded and could no longer be controlled because of the damage it sustained, Claudio told Rappler.
He said the seven Filipinos and their boat were adrift for seven days, and attempts to find them proved futile until the crew of bulk carrier M/V Shinryo that was on its way back to Japan from Indonesia spotted them.
Claudio said the Filipinos were handed over by the Japanese vessel’s crew to Philippine authorities 8.3 nautical miles off Sagbi in Sarangani on Tuesday, November 22. They were then brought to General Santos City where they were given medical care and other assistance.
“They were fine but really hungry,” said Claudio.
NFEM commander Commodore Carlos Sabarre said authorities first learned of the missing boat when it was informed about a distress call made near Balut Island on Sunday afternoon, November 20, and the Navy immediately sent out search and rescue teams.
He said the search continued on Monday morning, November 21, with pilots deployed to carry out an aerial search.
Sabarre said the boat and its passengers were found later that morning by the Japanese vessel’s crew off Balut Island, near Indonesia.
The Navy identified the following survivors:
- Hamid Sahabat
- Benhar Idanny
- Nisar Haiber
- Jimmy Sakilan
- Abdennasir Bandahala
- Rolly Posadas
- Altaim Latip
Claudio said the rescued Filipinos traveled back to Zamboanga City. – Rappler.com