13 missing after boat sinks near Bajo de Masinloc; search ops underway – PCG

Robie de Guzman   •   November 13, 2019   •   1181

MANILA, Philippines – Around 13 Filipino fishermen went missing after their boat sank near Bajo de Masinloc in Zambales last week, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said on Wednesday.

In a statement, the PCG said it is currently conducting operations to search for the missing fishermen of “FFB Three Sister.”

The agency said the fishing vessel sank on Nov. 7 at around 3 a.m. as it was sailing from Recto (also called Reed) Bank going to Barangay Sisiman in Mariveles, Bataan.

Strong winds and huge waves brought about by Tropical Cyclone ‘Quiel’ allegedly caused the boat to sink.

A few days after the incident, a fisherman named Angelito Epetito Jr. was rescued after he was found floating using a container along Bajo de Masinloc.

The PCG said the boat mishap was only reported to its station in Bataan through a radio communication on Nov. 11, adding that a team was immediately deployed after it received the information.

The rescued fisherman said he got separated from his companions and was unable to regroup with them.

He said he remained afloat for four days until rescue came.

The PCG said it has dispatched three of its floating assets – the BRP Tubbataha, BRP Capones and the BRP Boracay – to search and save the lives of the missing fishers.

It added that it is also set to coordinate with the Chinese Coast Guard to seek information on the possible whereabouts of the 13 missing fishermen.

15 crew members rescued from boat that caught fire off Basilan – PCG

Robie de Guzman   •   December 7, 2021

At least 15 crew members were rescued from their motorboat that caught fire in the vicinity waters off Isabela City in the province of Basilan, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Tuesday.

In a statement, the PCG said the fire incident involving Motor Launch (ML) J Dayang 3 occurred around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

The boat, loaded with hardware materials and groceries, was heading to Bongao, Tawi-Tawi from Cawit, Zamboanga City when a short circuit occurred that eventually caused fire onboard.

The PCG said it launched firefighting and search and rescue (SAR) operations together with the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO).

The BFP Basilan City declared fire out at around 05:30 a.m.

The damage to property due to the incident was estimated at P3.5 million.

“The 15 crew members were carefully rescued and were declared in good physical condition upon arrival at the shoreline of Lampinigan Island where they were provided with further assistance,” the coast guard said.

The PCG said no possible trace of oil spill was found after the incident based on the inspection conducted by the Marine Environmental Protection Group-Basilan and PCG Station Basilan team.

PH Coast Guard sends supplies to residents of Pag-asa Island

Robie de Guzman   •   November 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Tuesday said it delivered fishing gears and basic supplies to Pag-asa Island, Kalayaan in Palawan over the weekend.

In a statement, PCG spokesperson Commodore Armando Balilo said they turned over the supplies to the local government of Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) in line with the efforts of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to support the operations of local fishermen in remote territories.

The PCG also ferried provisions for its personnel and policemen stationed on the island.

“Relieving personnel were also transported to provide sufficient rest period to deployed law enforcement teams which is necessary in upholding public health and safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Balilo said.

PCG Commandant, Admiral Leopoldo Laroya said their routine mission in the country’s maritime zones is part of the agency’s commitment to the government’s whole-of-nation approach in safeguarding national interests through rules-based and peaceful approach.

While on their way to Pag-asa Island, the PCG said it monitored a China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel approximately one to two nautical miles away from their vessel but it did not issue a radio challenge.

Pag-asa Island is located some 450 kilometers west of Palawan. It is home to a civilian community and a military outpost.

The presence of Chinese vessels near the island has been reported amid tensions between Manila and Beijing over territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea.

PCG launches second 97-meter ship in Japan

Robie de Guzman   •   November 18, 2021

 MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Thursday launched its second 97-meter multi-role response vessel (MRRV), the largest in its fleet, at the Shimonoseki Shipyard of Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. in Japan.

In a statement, the PCG said the vessel was acquired by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for the PCG under the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project Phase II.

“These MRRV’s modeled after the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) Kunigami-class vessels are expected to improve the PCG’s maritime security and maritime safety capabilities,” the coast guard said.

The PCG said that each of the new MRRVs has a maximum speed of not less than 24 knots, and an endurance of not less than 4,000 nautical miles.

The ships are capable of conducting sustained maritime patrols in the country’s maritime jurisdictions, including the West Philippine Sea and Philippine Rise.

“The two vessels will significantly boost the capabilities of the PCG in conducting maritime search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations,” the PCG said.

The first MRRV was launched in the same shipyard on July 26, 2021. It is expected to arrive in Manila by March 2022 while the second vessel will follow months later.

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