Seven fishermen went missing while 13 others were rescued after their fishing vessel FB Jot-22 collided with the Marshall Island flagged MV Happy Hiro in the seas within the vicinity of Macaranao Island, Agutaya town, at around 5:40 in the afternoon last Saturday, May 28.
Coast Guard District Palawan (CGDPal) chief Commo. Rommel Supangan said the fishermen and MV Happy Hiro were both en route to Lipata, Culasi in Antique province when the incident happened.
The fishermen were rescued by the crew of a passing fishing boat, BAL 5, that then transferred them to the MV Happy Hiro.
They were identified as Donde Petiero, 38, of Estancia, Iloilo; Roderico Mata, 31; Randy Mata, 36; Renie Espinosa, 38; Mario Quezon, 24; Sammuel Ducay, 40; Rendil Dela Peña, 42; Martin E. Flores Jr., 58; Jupiter Ibañez, 38; Andring Pasicaran, 43; Jonel Mata, 30; Joemar Pahid, 32; and Arjay Barsaga, 26.
CDGPal immediately conducted a search and rescue operation for the seven remaining fishermen.
“Ongoing ngayon ang ating search and rescue operations, nasa area po ang atin BRP Suluan (MRRV-4406). Ang 13 ok na sila, safe na and nauna nang dinala sa Lipata, Culasi, Antique. Kasi ang area of operation kasi kung saan nangyari is under na ng area of responsibility ng Coast Guard District Western Visayas (CGD-WestVis) at ang bangka na na involved doon ay homecourted sa Estancia, Iloilo. Sa Antique din kasi ang pinakamalapit na coastguard station doon,” Supangan said.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Palawan News, CGD-WestVis said the 13 rescued fishermen arrived in Culasi at around 2:30 in the morning. Except for minor scratches, they are all in good health and are presently staying at the Culasi Municipal Health Office.
CGD-WestVis is currently investigating the incident with CGDPal, along with Western Command, Naval Forces West, and Tactical Operations Wing West (TOW West) are also on standby to assist in the search and rescue operation for the seven missing fishermen.
The number of missing fishermen was initially eight, according to Coast Guard data. This was corrected, though, after a few hours. – Editors