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Two Ships Collide In Sarangani Bay, 2 Killed, 21 Survived

10 August 2011

With list of survivors, The scene of the mishap is approximately 3.5 to 4 nautical miles South West off Matil Point in Barangay Lumatil, Maasim

One of the 21 rescued crew members arrive at Makar Wharf aboard a Coast Guard vessel at 1pm. Wednesday (August 10). The injured were rushed by ambulance to a General Santos City hospital.

By Ben O. Tesiorna, Correspondent

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SARANGANI -- Two ships collided in Sarangani Bay Tuesday evening resulting to the smaller ship to sink and oil to spill in the bay. (Larger pictures of damage to the HS Puccini below)

Philippine Coast Guard district commander Eduardo Gogonia said the incident happened around 7:42 in the evening of August 10 involving container vessel M/V HS Puccini (Monrovia) skippered by Captain Marko Kralj and Polsa Shipping Lines' Bulk Carrier 1.

Gogonia said the collision happened at the Sarangani Strait causing the Bulk Carrier to sink. A total of 21 crewmen were rescued as of this writing while two more remain missing.

The missing were identified as Chief Engineer Juanito Minoy and apprentice engineer Edmund Paller.

The survivors were meanwhile identified as Ryan Bonggot, Joy Asong, Christoper Alo, Constantino Davin Jr., Erwin Torres, Epifanio Bodiongan, Johnman Santillan, Robin John Gaspar, Elvis Landongan, Doroteo Pabiosa Jr., Reymundo Dela Cruz, Joshua Porbas, Alrophel Taguba, Ronie Gapasinao, Jayson Gonzales, Mario Gasque, Rolando Alegre, Captain Pedrito Serencio, chiefmate Ronald Taclotan, 2nd engineer Rogelio Juyo Jr., and Carlos Panes.

Capt. Pedrito Serencio, MV Bulk Carrier 1 master, tells media upon arrival at Makar Wharf at noon Wednesday (August 10) that two of his men were presumed to have died after they were sucked by water coming from the engine room. The fatalities were identified as chief engineer Juanito Minoy and apprentice engineer Edward Paler. They were on duty in the engine room at the time of the incident.

The HS Puccini meanwhile continued with its voyage and is now docked at the Makar wharf in General Santos City.

It was learned that the ship that sank came from Dumaguete City and was carrying 16,000 bags of rice when it collided with HS Puccini that came from Davao port.

MV Bulk Carrier 1 master, Capt. Pedrito Serencio, said the two missing crew were presumed to have died after they were drowned by water coming into the engine room. They were on duty in the engine room at the time of the incident.

The MV Bulk Carrier 1 master told reporters as he and his rescued crew members arrived at Makar Wharf at noon Wednesday that ?the bigger vessel hit the side of our vessel, our engine room.?

?We heard no siren. There was zero visibility. I did not see any light,? said Serencio.

?Some of my men panicked. Others were thrown overboard by the impact.?

Serencio, who was on duty at the bridge, said there was heavy downpour during the accident.

?The marine vessel was trying to veer away from something but it hit us instead. I heard the siren two seconds before impact. Our vessel almost flipped over. It was good the marine vessel made a hard starboard,? Serencio said.

He said his chief engineer and apprentice engineer had no chance of surviving because they were trapped in the engine room.

MV HS Puccini, a Superferry, Solid Lines, and Ernesto 1 vessels searched for over two hours but they did not find the missing crew. ?We need divers to recover their bodies,? Serencio said.


Authorities meanwhile said that the oil slick coming from the sunken ship have been contained as of Wednesday noon.

?Our (PCG) personnel are there. They intercepted the oil slick off Eslomi village in Maasim,? said Commander Roy Echeverria, PCG-Southeastern Mindanao acting deputy commander.

?Initially they sprayed dispersant to minimize the volume na makarating sa shoreline,? he added.

The scene of the mishap is approximately 3.5 to 4 nautical miles South West off Matil Point in Barangay Lumatil, Maasim.

Responding PCG personnel earlier observed a fuel spill, estimated to be around two hectares, at the vicinity of the collision site.

However, Echeverria told Sarangani Vice Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon that the oil slick has only been estimated to be around 600 square meters by noontime Wednesday.

PCG personnel were in the area with spill booms and oil spill containment and recovery materials to observe, monitor and combat the spillage, Echeverria said.

Sarangani Governor Miguel Rene Dominguez meanwhile said that the oil spill is being anticipated by them but they are still verifying the total quantity of oil and fuel onboard the vessel that sank. The PCG is also conducting a probe to determine what caused the accident.

Initial investigation showed that heavy downpour and poor visibility triggered the collision.

Vice Governor Solon said ?we have to find out what the liabilities are so we leave that to the Coast Guard to investigate.?

He said the PCG, Philippine Navy and Barangay Defense Forces were ?all moving together? to monitor and contain the oil slick.

Echeverria said that ?while being investigated, we?ll be requesting for MV HS Pucchini to be detained here in Gensan.?

?We don?t see anymore any reason to continue the search and rescue operation,?

Echeverria said. ?Retrieval medyo mahirap na, knowing the depth of the area (400 to 550 fathoms). Yong dalawang tao hindi na makukuha, malalim kasi.?

Last May, a ship also rammed at the protected Bacud Reef that resulted to the destruction of several hectares of corals.

Prior to that, another ship also got stuck at the same reef. With the series of accidents in Sarangani, the Philippine Coast Guard is now planning to place buoys in Bacud Reef to warn ships of its presence. (with reports from Serafin Ramos Jr./SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

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