PCG fears 14 fishermen trapped under sunken vessel

Going into the fourth day of search and rescue operations for the 14 missing fishermen of the sunk FV Liberty 5, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) fears that the fishermen may have been trapped under the ill-fated boat which as of Thursday sunk about 2,000-meter deep off Occidental Mindoro.

This undated handout photo released by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on June 29, 2020 shows the fishing boat Liberty 5 after it collided with a cargo ship registered in Hong Kong early on June 28 off the coast of Mindoro island, southwest of Manila.
(Photo by Handout / Philippine Coast Guard / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Commodore Armand Balilo, Coast Guard spokesman, bared that the capsized FV Liberty 5 has already sunk about 2,000 meters into the sea but divers can only go as deep as 100 meters.

This, he said, bolstered their suspicion that the fishermen were trapped under the fishing vessel.

“The depth of the vicinity waters is approximately 2,000 meters while technical divers may only reach 100 meters depth,” Balilo said.

“PCG is looking into the angle that the missing fishermen were trapped under the capsized fishing vessel,” the commodore added.

Search and rescue operations continued Thursday using the Coast Guard’s multi-role response vessels BRP Boracay, BRP Malapascua, and MCS 3009. The search and rescue mission started on Sunday but to no avail.

As of Thursday afternoon, seaborne patrol operations continued at the shoreline of Barangay Tubili, Paluan to Paluan Bay; Sablayan Point; and west off Lubang Island and Cape Calavite in Occidental Mindoro

Aerial surveillance was also conducted by the Philippine Air Force southwest off Tayamaan, Mamburao.

Balilo also said that the Coast Guard and and the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary are now reaching out to the families of the missing fishermen to provide necessary assistance.

The FV Liberty 5 bound for Navotas from Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi figured in a collision with Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier MV Vienna Wood off Tayamaan, Mamburao in Occidental Mindoro Saturday night.

The captain of the 31,000-GT bulk carrier was able to call for distress about three hours after the collision took place, when the old fishing boat had already capsized.

Investigation pointed out that the foreign vessel bound for Australia stayed in the area of collision but failed to launch its own rescue team to save the fishermen.

The captain of the foreign vessel claimed that they were not able to send a rescue team due to bad weather conditions and only relied on the seven small vessels in the area.

On Wednesday, investigators already reached out to the seven other vessels reportedly around the collision area to get their accounts “to be able to come up with credible accounts on what happened.” (Betheena Unite)