Thursday, November 27, 2008

1 Dies, 3 Missing As Cargo Ship Sinks In Batanes

A cargo vessel sank last Tuesday 10 nautical miles northwest of Calayan Island, Batanes, leaving one dead and three crewmen missing, while 16 others were rescued by passing vessels, the Philippine Coast Guard said yesterday. Capt. Athelo Ibañez, PCG North Luzon district commander, said the Mark Jayson 1, a 51.42 gross-ton Landing Craft Transport vessel, was on its way to Basco from Manila carrying aggregates and construction equipment when it suffered engine trouble amid strong winds and high seas near the Batanes group of islands. The shipping vessel had 14 crewmen and six equipment operators. In a report to PCG commandant Vice Admiral Wilfredo D. Tamayo, Ibañez said the identities of the dead and the missing were still unknown. But he identified those rescued as Nestor Sumokol Jr., Nestor Sumokol Sr., Melvin Evangelista, Mark Regonan, Ryan Mejares, Dante Resona, Alejandro Senagugote, Mark John Palcis, Rexy Cabaola, Ryan Herminio, Jackie Gan, Larry Sasidon, Galeleo Jaug , BJ Geronimo, Reynald Dapiton. One of the rescued was still unidentified."We are presently conducting search and rescue operations for the missing crew of the vessel," Ibañez said. Tamayo ordered two PCG rescue vessels and one aircraft to search for the three missing crew. He also sought the cooperation and coordination of local government officials in Batanes to help in the search and rescue operations. According to PCG reports, the Mark Jason-1, owned by Jomalia Shipping Corp., flashed a "distress call’ at around 1:15 a.m. last Tuesday. This was confirmed by a certain Jesus Dukut of the MV Kamo, who called up Coast Guard Northern Luzon District. Five passing vessels helped in the rescue of the survivors. The MV Ultrace rescued four; the MV Umlaghan, rescued seven; the MV Lutos Gas, three; and the MV Asia Bridge and the MV Siam Victory rescued one each. Tamayo said he will form a special board of marine inquiry (SBMI) to probe the cause of the sinking. He designated Ibañez as chairman of the probe.

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