A total of 12 Filipino fishermen have gone missing after their vessel collided with a cargo ship in the waters off the Philippine province of Occidental Mindoro on Sunday, June 28.
Officials from the Philippine Coast Guard and the Occidental Mindoro provincial government said the incident involving the fishing vessel Liberty Cinco and the Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier Vienna Wood N occurred some 24 kilometres off the town of Paluan at around 01:00 local time on Sunday.
Vienna Wood N‘s vessel manager, AM Nomikos, said in a statement that the ship stopped and the crew conducted an emergency damage assessment. The collision was reported soon after to the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), Manila.
The crew then inspected the damage sustained in order to ascertain if it compromised the bulk carrier’s own safety and stability and then returned to the location of the collision to search for survivors.
Vienna Wood N‘s crew and local search and rescue (SAR) teams that were deployed to the area in response to the collision found only the capsized fishing vessel but no trace of the fishermen.
Liberty Cinco eventually sank at around 18:30.
The operation to locate the missing fishermen was temporarily suspended at 17:30 on Sunday due to rough sea conditions but was resumed on Monday morning.
Meanwhile, the coast guard and AM Nomikos said Vienna Wood N is currently docked in nearby Batangas province as part of an investigation into the incident and to enable port surveys and repairs to any damage sustained by the vessel.
AM Nomikos has assured that the owners, managers, and crew of Vienna Wood N are cooperating fully with Philippine authorities as part of the ongoing investigation.
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