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Rescuers searching for missing fishers

First Posted 12:35:00 02/11/2009

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CEBU CITY, Philippines - Rescuers from the Philippine Coast Guard and Bantay Dagat are scouring the seas off Bantayan Island in Cebu to search for six fishermen still missing after a cargo vessel and a fishing boat collided on Sunday morning.

MV Chrysler of Matsya shipping Lines Corporation based in Cebu City was heading for Mariveles, Bataan from Cebu City, when it rammed the fishing boat FB Linda-J Steel 11 owned by couple Pablo and Rosalinda Olayvar.

The fishing boat was coming from Barangay (village) Kabak, Bantayan town, where most of the fishermen were from.

The search continues for the fishing boat's chief engineer Gerry Kaquilala, 45; and its five fishermen ? Mario Olivario, 30, of Escalante, Negros Oriental; William Baduiable, 23, of Kabak; Timpteo Morados, 45, of Hagnaya, San Remegio town, Cebu; Remegio Ofianga, 39, of Kabak; and Am Darawis, 24, of Kabak.

The 13 other fishermen of FB Linda-J, who jumped overboard before their vessel sank, were rescued by MV Chrysler.

Survivors include captain Gorgonio Santillan, 39; 2nd mate Roger Santillan, 40; Pablo Santillan, 40; Celso Santillan, 31; Glenn Villanueva, 26; Adrian Alob, 29; Joel Alob; Kenneth Fabricante, 25; Joselito Cordova, 34; Erwin Ofianga, 29; Roger Pones, 32; Napoleon Narandan, 31; and Tolentino Oliverio, 42.

Petty Officer 1 Clemente Codilla, detachment commander of the Coast Guard station on Bantayan Island, said he feared the six missing fishermen were already dead after they reportedly failed to jump overboard when the collision happened as claimed by the survivors.

He said Kaquilala and three of the missing fishermen were inside the engine room while the two others were sleeping in the boat?s storage where the fishnets were placed.

The six could have been trapped inside the fishing boat when it sank, Codilla said.

Based on the report of the Coast Guard district Central Eastern Visayas, MV Chrysler was transiting at the vicinity of Tanguigui island when the fishing boat crossed its path.

Too late to stop, the 698.88-gross-tonnage cargo vessel rammed the Linda-J, which has a gross tonnage of 33.94.

The fishing boat immediately sank, while the cargo vessel sustained a five-inch diameter hole in its forward port (left) bow, just above the water line.

Linda-J sank some .5 nautical miles off Tanguigui islet, Madridejos, Bantayan Island at 5:20 a.m. on Sunday.

Codilla said the Chrysler was allowed to continue its voyage to Bataan to get soya bean cargoes, after it filed a marine protest.

The FB Linda-J also filed its own marine protest.

The Coast Guard will convene the Board of Marine Inquiry to conduct an investigation and find out who was at fault during the accident.

All the 23 officers and crew of MV Chrysler headed by captain Arturo Abala were not harmed.

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