11 August 2011

Seven Subic fishers rescued, two missing after sea collision

Seven fishermen were rescued Wednesday morning while two remained missing after a Subic-based fishing vessel collided with a cargo ship off the coast of Zambales at around 3:30 p.m. last Sunday, August 7.

The fishermen were picked up by the cargo vessel M/V Izumi at around 6:00 a.m. Wednesday and then transferred to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) vessel M/V Redondo, which brought them to the SBMA Dispensary for treatment.

The fishermen, all from barangay Calapandayan, Subic, Zambales, were found holding onto floating pieces of their vessel about 112 miles west of Subic, near the Scarborough Shoal, rescuers said.

They were identified as Benito Otero, 56; Joel Otero, 47; Ricardo Castorico, 28; Roberto Alvior, 38; Vidal Radasa, 56; Salih Alipido, 42; and Ronilo Lebios, 29.

Those missing were identified only as as Arnel, 46, and Teteng, 40.

Two of the survivors, Alipido and Lebios, were injured in the collision.

According to Benito Otero, who owns the ill-fated fishing vessel Tres Marias, they have been floating at sea for four days before being rescued.

Otero also said that heavy rains last Sunday made for poor visibility, thus they did not see the ship in time to avoid it.

“Talagang ulan po. ‘Di makita, talagang malakas ‘yung ulan. Nakita namin ‘yung barko malapit na (It was raining. We can’t see anything, it was raining hard. We only saw the ship when it was already near our boat),” Otero said.

Otero likewise claimed that they failed to avoid the ship because of problems with steering.

The survivors said that their boat split into two after the cargo ship hit it. Thereafter, the fishermen clung to pieces of the wreckage in order to keep afloat.

However, two men in their crew disappeared in the water after the accident and were never found until the boat crew were rescued on Wednesday.

Otero recalled that they have already been fishing for four days and had sufficient catch when they met the accident on Sunday.

He said that after the mishap, the cargo ship that collided with them merely sailed on.

Otero said they failed to identify the ship also because of poor visibility. (SBMA Corporate Communications)