The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is investigating a fire that reportedly crippled a foreign cargo ship passing through Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea and bound for Batangas on Saturday.

Lieutenant Commander Christian Jazmin, Coast Guard District Palawan (CGDP) spokesperson, told Palawan News on Tuesday that automobile carrier M/V Diamond Highway caught fire near Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) prompting its 25 crew members to abandon the ship.

Jazmin said that when they received the report around 11:30 p.m. on June 15, they immediately sent BRP Cabra (MRRV 4409) to assist and conduct fire fighting operation.

As of press time, M/V Diamond Highway is being towed by a tugboat towards Batangas and escorted by BRP Cabra.

“Nakatanggap tayo ng report from Philippine Coast Guard Action Center na may nasusunog na barko doon sa Reed bank area kaya nagpadala ang PCG ng barko at ngayon tino-tow na ng tugboat [papuntang Batangas]. Hanggang ngayon tino-tow na siya umuusok pa rin kaya nandoon pa rin ang BRP Cabra na naka-escort para makapag-respond sa pag-apula in case na mag-escalate ulit ang apoy,” he said.

M/V Diamond Highway is operated by K-line and the Panamanian ship came from Singapore and was on its way to Batangas when the fire happened.

Jazmin said the ship’s 25 crew members were already rescued by another carrier Bulk Carrier Canupos Leader, which was on its way to Thailand from Singapore.

All crew members are safe, he said, adding they are investigating if any of them is a Filipino national.

“Sa ngayon inaalam natin kung ano ang mga nationality ng mga crews, kung may Filipino ba doon. They are all safe and sound, however, ‘yong barko ‘yon ang inaalam natin kung gaano kalaki ang damage. Ang mga crew ay dala na ng isa ring foreign ship na papunta rin ng Thailand,” Jazmin said.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.