MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has filed multiple complaints against the crew of the Marshall Islands-flagged cargo vessel that collided with a Filipino fishing boat in Palawan.
In a press briefing on Wednesday, June 1, PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu said the Coast Guard filed complaints for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, multiple injuries, and damage to properties against the following crew members of MV Happy Hiro: Ship Master Amir Meshay, Second Mate Bogdan George Antonie, and officers Tyrone Albina Maquiling and Mckinley Panuncialman Amante.
The PCG filed the complaints in Antique on Tuesday afternoon, May 31, three days after the collision of the MV Happy Hiro and Filipino boat FB Jot-18 in Agutaya, Palawan, which left 13 Filipino fishermen injured and seven more of their companions missing.
According to PCG Station Antique, the MV Happy Hiro committed the following violations: leaving port without PCG clearance, which carries a penalty of P10,000; and the ship master’s failure to accomplish the Master Declaration of Safe Departure, with a penalty of P50,000.
During the briefing, Abu said that while the PCG filed a complaint for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, the PCG did not assume that the missing fishermen were already dead. The commandant also said that they recalibrated their operations from search and rescue, to search and retrieval operations.
Abu said the owner of the cargo ship already sent lawyers for their crew. MV Happy Hiro would also remain in the country while waiting for the court order, according to Abu.
The PCG commandant cited the scratches on the Marshallese ship as among their bases in filing the complaints, as these confirmed that it collided with the Filipino fishing boat. The scratches on the vessel were discovered through an underwater inspection of the Coast Guard.
MV Happy Hiro hit the Filipino fishing boat in the vicinity of waters off Maracanao Island in Agutaya town. Abu confirmed that the Filipino boat was anchored in the waters when the cargo ship hit it.
After the incident, a transiting boat was able to rescue the 13 fisherfolk out of the 20 passengers of the Filipino boat. The rescued fisherfolk were mostly residents of Cebu.
Among the rescued, 12 sustained minor scratches, while the other one sustained a minor wound on his head. – Rappler.com