The Philippine Coastal Guard (PGC) has reported the sinking of two vessels off the coast of the Philippines. Currently it is believed that a total of six people are still missing, with one reported fatality.
The first vessel to sink, M/V Virginia 1, was en-route to Roxas, Palawan from Delpan Pier, Binondo, Manila with eleven crew members on-board. The ship caught fire near Caballo Island. It is not yet known what caused the blaze, but an interview with the crew members confirmed that it started in the purser’s cabin before quickly spreading to the smoke stack of the vessel and eventually reaching combustible materials at the mid of the vessel.
The crew were then divided into two groups, with six boarding a life raft and the remaining five taking the life boat.
Whilst abandoning the ship aboard the life boat, heavy waters caused the six-man crew many problems, and after sustaining heavy wind and waves for some time, the boat eventually capsized. At this point, the five survivors were forced to cling to the overturned vessel amid the adverse weather conditions. Tragically, one crew member, identified by survivors as Sonny Ruado, died due to severe exhaustion. After some time in the freezing waters, the four survivors were eventually rescued by a passing fisherman.
The other five crew members who had taken the raft are still missing.
The second incident involved cargo vessel M/V Meridian Tres, that was reported sinking at the vicinity of Sto Niño Dive Site, Bohol around 9:25 PM local time, January 17.
The Meridian Tres had 29 people on-board at the time when the incident was reported to the PCG. The coastal guard managed to successfully rescue 28, but one man identified as Benjamin Orola is still missing.
Commenting on the tragic ordeal, ship captain Napoleon Emphasis blamed the adverse weather for the vessel’s difficulties. Emphasis said that “monster waves” thrashed against the vessel in quick succession. Emphasis went on to say. “I didn’t expect that giant waves would greet us. They were really huge”.
The search continues for the missing men, with weather warnings issued all around the coastal areas of the Philippines.