Ship with all-Filipino crew sinks off Vietnam

A crew member was rescued while two others were confirmed dead when a cargo ship with 19 all-Filipino crew capsized and sank off the Vietnamese coast early Friday morning.          

The incident was first reported by Gearbulk Holding Limited, a Bermuda-based company, which owns the ship, the Bulk Jupiter, on its website.

The Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Center (Vietnam MRCC), which is leading the search and rescue operation, said the rescued crew member was the ship’s chief cook, while  one of the confirmed dead was the ship’s captain.

Based on the list obtained by Tuoi Tre News, a Vietnamese website, the cook is identified as Angelito Rojas, while the ship’s captain is Ronel Andrin.

The cook was rescued at around 2:10 p.m. on Friday, by the ONLNG Muttrah, an tugboat from Oman, which also found the body of the captain drifting at sea.

About 30 minutes later, the Kota Nekad, a tugboat from Singapore, reported it had found a corpse confirmed to be a crew member, which remains unidentified.

The other 16 members, based on the Vietnamese news website list, are chief oficer Rennel Karl Abogadie, Second Officer Gibbson Ranara, Third Officer Jerome Dinoy, Jr. Third Officer  Alexis Thomas Bacalla, Chief Engr. Joseph Damasan, 2nd Engr. Lot Correos, 3rd Engr. Reydante Mendoza, electrician Ricky Gapasin, bosun Jonniefer Aleta, Rosilo Sansolis (motorman), Gilbert Flora (wiper),  Mark Timothy Causarin (galley boy), Edwin Acebo (fitter), Renato Toribio (AB1), Wynfred Balao, (AB2), Edgar Melecio (OS1) and George Espiguera (OS2).

“Bulk Jupiter, a Bahamas-flagged ship, departed from Kuantan in Malaysia on Dec. 30 at around 20:00 hours (local time) and is now confirmed as having “capsized and [sunk] about 150 NM off the Vietnamese coast,” Gearbulk Holding Limited, which specializes in conventional bulk, said in a statement posted on the company’s website.

The ship was carrying 46,400 metric tons of bauxite in bulk, stowed in all five of its cargo holds, according to the Bermuda-based company.

“Repeated attempts to contact the vessel on all communication channels were unsuccessful,” Gearbulk said.

The firm said the Japanese Coast Guard had immediately initiated search and rescue operations after receiving the distress alert from the Bulk Jupiter.

A Vietnamese vessel, SAR 413 acted as a guide to Liberia’s ZIM ASIA, Oman’s tugboat OLNG Muttrah, Singapore’s tugboat Kota Nekad, and Sea Land Meteor of China’s Hong Kong in the search for the Bulk Jupiter and the 16 missing sailors.

“We will use this opportunity to thank everyone involved for their help and support in this difficult situation. Our thoughts are with the crew and their families,” Gearbulk said.

The Bulk Jupiter was thought to have wrecked as it has yet to be found after the Vietnamese rescue force received SOS messages from the vessel at 7 a.m. on Friday, when it was about 150 nautical miles off the southern Vietnamese city of Vung Tau, the Vietnam MRCC said.

After receiving the emergency signals, the Vietnam MRCC issued a maritime notice asking for help from vessels nearby and sent the SAR 413 to the scene to begin rescue activities, which were later joined by the foreign ships.

The Vietnam National Committee for Search and Rescue said it has proposed that the Defense Ministry dispatch the HQ608 – a naval ship – to the site to support the SAR 413 in the ongoing search.

The Vietnam MRCC said on Friday night that the owner of the Bulk Jupiter will send a representative from Singapore to Vietnam to coordinate with it in the ongoing search efforts.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), meanwhile, said  it is looking into the reported sinking of the cargo ship in Vietnam.

DFA spokesman Charles Jose said on Saturday that the department is coordinating with Vietnamese authorities to confirm the reported sinking of the Bulk Jupiter.

The DFA also has yet to confirm the veracity of the crew list released by the Tuoi Tre News.

Meanwhile, at least least five people died when the motor banca they were riding capsized off Carles town in Iloilo on Thursday.

Four other passengers were rescued while at least one is still missing, according to a report on GMA’s “Saksi” Friday night.

The family members aboard the vessel were heading back toward Barangay Asluman after a New Year outing when they encountered big waves.

One of the passengers who was drunk fell off, and the others tried to help him get back aboard.

But he lost his balance and the boat capsized. The family patiarch swam to a nearby island to seek help.

Of the five fatalities, four were minors. Four were rescued while one was missing.

The survivors were brought to the Jesus M. Colmenares District Hospital in Barangay Tingui-an in Balasan, Iloilo..


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