The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) confirmed on Wednesday, April 21, the death of four crew members of a cargo vessel which was found abandoned after it ran aground on the shoreline of Surigao del Norte after the onslaught of typhoon “Bising.”
PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said the four fatalities were among the 20 crewmen of the cargo vessel Cebu Great Ocean, adding that seven of those missing were rescued by local residents while nine others are still missing.
Seven of those rescued were identified as Noli Labucay, Roger Polo, Arjie Bacarra, Joejie Villanueva, Felipe Quebuen, John Renzo Guanzon and Junmar Galeos. Four of the crew members were admitted to Caraga Regional Hospital, while three of them were admitted to Malimono Regional Health Office.
The casualties reported by the PCG is on top of the three people whose deaths were confirmed by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
The PCG said four fatalities were identified as Norman Galon, Michael Inoc, Jose Sherwin Laniba, and Mark Evan Cuesta.
During the initial inquiry with the survivors, the PCG found out that the cargo vessel LCT Cebu Great Ocean was anchored in Jabonga, Agusan del Sur when the accident occurred.
“Due to bad weather and rough sea condition, the vessel’s anchor chain was cut off and seawater started coming in, causing massive flooding inside the vessel until it eventually listed. It was during this time when they declared ‘abandon ship’ and jumped off the water,” Balilo said, citing the initial inquiry from the survivors.
“The survivors shared their life jackets and life rings kept them floating in the past two days, until they reached the waters of Surigao del Norte where they were rescued,” he added.
According to the Coast Guard, it will conduct an investigation in the following days to confirm the information.
The PCG said their search and rescue (SAR) operations are ongoing for the missing crew members.
The Coast Guard also deployed a land mobility vehicle that conducts patrol operations along the shorelines of Malimono and San Francisco.