The family of one of the seven missing fishermen whose fishing boat figured in a collision with a foreign vessel near Agutaya waters on Saturday claimed it was “intentional.”
Lorna Cena, sister of one of the missing fishermen, Molly Cena, told Palawan News on Tuesday that it is impossible for a huge ship equipped with “high technology” to just collide with a small fishing vessel in such a vast sea.
“Bakit ba talaga binangga ng foreign vessel? Napakalawak ng dagat, siguro intentional ‘yon. Napaka-tanga talaga ng foreign vessel, alam ko na napaka-hightech ng vessel nila binangga pa nila ‘yong naka-tambay na fishing vessel,” Cena told Palawan News.
The missing fishers were identified 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.
According to the initial report from the Philippine Coast Guard, the collision between Filipino fishing boat FB JOT-22 and foreign commercial vessel MV Happy Hiro transpired around 5:00 p.m. in the waters off Maracanao Island in Agutaya, Palawan, on Saturday, May 28.
But the 13 out of the 20 fishing crew were only rescued after 9:00 p.m. by another Filipino fishing vessel that happened to pass by the area.
“Question ko lang po kung bakit turn over ang mga na-rescue sa MV Happy Hiro, at bakit alas 9 na ng gabi naka-tanggap ng balita si Coast Guard Palawan?,” asked by Cena saying the chances of rescue would have been improved had it been reported early.
Comm. Rommel Supangan, district commander of Coast Guard District Palawan (CGDPal), said Monday they were able to pin down the location of the fishing boat and have established a search and rescue team in the area where the “shift and drift” may drag the missing crew members.
So far, the team has covered 81.13 square nautical miles of the search zone and has expanded to nine more nautical miles.
“Na-locate ng ating barko na BRP Suluan ‘yong debris na nanggaling sa lumubog na fishing boat so ito ay indikasyon na tama ang lokasyon ng ating search and rescue team para sa shift and drift ng kasalukuyang hangin kung saan papadpadin o maaring padpadin ‘yong mga tao kung sila ay nakasama sa mga debris. However, sa ating pagtingin sa mga debris ng ating search and rescue team ay wala silang nakitang survivor doon sa mga debris na nakuha kaya naman pinalawak pa ng ating search and rescue vessel na nasa area na kanilang search and rescue area,” Supangan said.
However, the team had no luck in getting significant search findings as it moved towards the Simirara area, heading towards the northwest of the Panay Peninsula.
“Ang direksyon na ating tinatahak ng rescue ay east southeast ng lugar kung saan naganap ang insidente na kung saan ang calculation natin sa set and drift ng current kung saan maaring padpadin ang mga tao patungo na ng area ito ng bandang paakyat papuntang Simirara area, so bandang northwest Panay Peninsula doon na tayo banda nagsesearch mula kagabi. Sa ngayon ay wala pa tayong natatagpuan,” Supangan added.