The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is searching for 14 Filipinos who have gone missing after their fishing boat collided with a Hong Kong-flagged vessel yesterday morning off the coast of Occidental Mindoro.
In a statement released today, the PCG said it had sent its patrol boat BRP Boracay to the town of Mamburao to search for the 14 men, which included the boat’s captain and two passengers. It had also dispatched a plane, an Airbus’ H145 helicopter, and an additional team from Batangas to join the search and rescue operation this morning.
The fishermen’s boat, MV Liberty 5, hit the Hong Kong-owned cargo ship MV Vienna Wood at about 1am yesterday. The foreign vessel’s crew sent a distress call after the incident occurred, which spurred the PCG to search for the missing men. The Filipinos’ boat was found at 10am but its passengers weren’t on board.
MV Liberty 5 reportedly came from Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi and was on its way to Navotas fish port. MV Vienna Wood, on the other hand, departed from Subic Bay and was on its way to Australia.
In June 2019, a Filipino fishing boat rammed against a Chinese-owned trawler off the coast of Palawan. The Chinese crew members abandoned the Filipino fishermen, but they were later rescued by Vietnamese seafarers who responded to their call for help. The incident led to widespread anger among Filipinos, many of whom labelled the Chinese nationals’ act as cowardly. However, President Rodrigo Duterte, who maintains a cozy relationship with Beijing, downplayed the incident and said it was just a maritime accident.
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