AS the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) continues its search and rescue operation for the missing crew of Liberty 5, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged the government to take legal action against the Hong Kong-flagged cargo vessel’s captain who may be held liable for the sea mishap.
According to Pamalakaya, the initial report released by PCG should be enough to sue the Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship MV Vienna Wood.
Missing Pinoy crewmen identified
The group noted that the cargo vessel’s crew did not act, or exerted any effort, to rescue the 14 Filipino fishing crew of the capsized fishing vessel.
Following reports of missing Filipino fishing crew and passengers of local fishing vessel FV Liberty 5 after its reported collision with Hong Kong-registered vessel MV Vienna Wood off the coast of Occidental Mindoro before dawn on Sunday, June 28, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) IVB said it has immediately deployed the Fisheries Resource Protection Groups (FRPG) of Sablayan and Lubang, Occidental Mindoro Stations to the site of the incident to assist in the search and rescue operations headed by the PCG and the local government unit (LGU) of Paluan, Occidental Mindoro.
In a news statement, the missing fishing crew and passengers were identified by the PCG in coordination with the BFAR IVB FRPG team. They are: Jose Magnes E. Alfonso (Captain) Renante H. Dahon (Chief Mate) Reynil V. Magura (Chief Engineer) Miguel Q. Booc III (Assistant Chief Engineer) Joeffry R. Bantog (Oiler) Jeerom D. Alaska (Oiler) Michael B. Flores (Master Hatchman) Jayson A. Vigonte (Hatchman) Adrian Robert S. Amogod (Hatchman) Bartolome P. Oab Jr. (Hatchman) Herbert J. Dalabajan (Hatchman) Reynald S. Riparip (Passenger) Ariel L. Tabang (Passenger) Edwardo S. Manipol Jr. (Passenger). The boat’s captain, Jose Magnes Alfonso, is from Aklan, while the rest of the crew and passengers are from Palawan.
Offer of assistance
The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines early evening Tuesday said they are ready “to render any necessary assistance” to the search for the missing fishermen.
The embassy said they are shocked and saddened at the collision of a Philippine fishing boat with a Hong Kong-flagged cargo vessel at midnight of June 27.
“This is a tragic incident. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the missing crew members and passengers. We sincerely hope all of them could be rescued at the earliest,” an embassy statement read.
“During this difficult time, our top priority should be given to the rescue of missing crewmembers and passengers,” the same statement said.
“Pending the investigation, we hope all parties refrain from politicalizing the issue and seeking narrow interests from such a humanitarian tragedy,” it added.
Such inaction, Pamalakaya said, should be enough to slap the captain and the crew of MV Vienna Wood with criminal and civil charges.
Since the collision on the midnight of June 27, all 14 crew of Liberty 5 remain missing.
Pamalakaya National Chairman Fernando Hicap said that the actuations of the Chinese cargo vessel endangered the lives of the Filipino fishing crew.
“The PCG report says it all; despite the ship being compliant with the navigational standards and capable of rescuing the 14 fishing crews, they left the helpless fishers to uncertainties,” Hicap said.
Meanwhile, the group, as expected, slammed Malacañang for downplaying the maritime tragedy as banggaan lang, amid precedence and abandonment of the welfare of the victims of Chinese ramming of F/B Gem-ver 1 in June last year.
Image credits: Philippine Coast Guard via AP