The 13 rescued fishermen rescued by the PCG after their fishing boat collided with a foreign vessel in Agutaya waters. (Photo from PCG)

The Filipino fishermen whose fishing boat collided with a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship off Maracanao Island in Agutaya town, northern Palawan, in May 2022 received an out-of-court settlement of roughly P40 million.

Vice Admiral Joseph Coyme, commander of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Maritime Safety Services Command, said in a press conference on Monday in Olongapo City that the 13 fishermen and the families of the seven who went missing on May 28, 2022, during the incident involving FB JOT-22 and MV Happy Hiro, will receive the sum following a settlement proposal by the cargo ship operator.

“With this strong case we have established, the owner has decided to propose an out-of-court settlement,” Cosme said.

The complaints against MV Happy Hiro and its four crew—Meshay Amir; Romanian second mate, Bogdan George Antonie; and Filipino officers Tyrone Albina Maquiling and Mckinley Panuncialman Amante—were filed by the PCG in the Antique Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in May 2022.

Authorities identified the missing fishers out of 20 as Joseph Pescante, 49; Rolly Mata, 33; Ramon Eral, 27; Edward Alolor, 39; Nelson Mata, 50; J.R. Dela-Peña, 27; and Molly Cena, 42.

The 13 rescued crew members were identified as Donde Petiero, 38, from Estancia, Iloilo; and the rest from Bantayan Island in Cebu province, including 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 Jbañiez, 38; Andring Pasicaran, 43; Jonel Mata, 30; Joemar Pahid, 32; and Arjay Barsaga, 26.

Commodore Rommel Supangan, the PCG’s commander in Palawan at the time, stated that the fishermen and the MV Happy Hiro were both en route to Lipata, Culasi in Antique province when the event occurred.