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DFA: Rescued Filipino seafarers from capsized ship due home, search for others continues

In this image made from video released by the 10th Regional Japan Coast Guard Headquarters, a crew member of a cargo ship is rescued by Japanese Coast Guard members off the Amami Oshima, Japan Friday, Sept. 4, 2020. Japan’s coast guard rescued a second survivor on Friday in waters where a ship carrying thousands of cows from New Zealand is believed to have sunk during stormy weather, officials said. (The 10th Regional Japan Coast Guard Headquarters via AP)

The two Filipino seamen rescued from the missing Panamanian-flagged vessel Gulf Livestock-1 will be returning home to the Philippines soon, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

The seafarers were rescued from the capsized vessel in international waters in the East China Sea. 

Japanese Coast Guard (JCG) found the Filipinos after their vessel capsized on  September 2, 2020 after they received, earlier that day, the vessel’s distress call, as the ship was caught amidst Typhoon Maysak.

It then launched a search and rescue operation which led to the recovery of the two Filipino crew members and one crew member who was later pronounced dead. 

However, the JCG had to temporarily suspend its search and rescue operation with the onslaught of Typhoon Haishen.

Upon resumption of the operations on September 7, 2020, the JCG found no clue of the missing vessel nor its crew members.

The search continues but there are no further developments to date, the DFA said.

However, the families of the missing Filipino mariners have appealed to the DFA to request Japan or South Korea to continue the search.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, meanwhile, wrote Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. “to call upon the Japanese government to expand its search and rescue (SAR) efforts for the 36 Filipino seafarers still missing at sea.

Losin responded in a tweet saying, “The Japanese government and Ambassador and I are on this and Japan did not cease its search  that Saturday but had in fact continued it against protocol. On the other hand, I refuse to ask other Asian powers to join in the search because that is an attack on the sovereignty of Japan”

The DFA, through the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA), the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, the Philippine Consulate General in Osaka, and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Osaka, under the One-Country-Team Approach, closely coordinated with the local manning agency, the ship owner and the Japanese Coast Guard during the conduct of search operations, the eventual recovery and repatriation of the two Filipino seafarers. 

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