PH Coast Guard 'building evidence' vs Hong Kong ship crew

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The Philippine Coast Guard is building up evidence against the crew of the Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship Vienna Wood, after a probe revealed that they did not try to rescue the mariners of Philippine fishing boat Liberty 5.

CARGO SHIP. The Hong Kong-flagged M/V Vienna Wood. Photo from the Philippine Coast Guard

The Vienna Wood tried to veer a safe distance away from 7 other vessels that came to the Liberty 5’s rescue after the collision, Ursabia earlier said. The 31,540-ton bulk carrier risked smashing into the smaller vessels if it had stayed near them. “Actually, na-detect nila sa radar 'yung Liberty 5 at isa pang fishing vessel. Kaso lang, noong nagmamaniobra na sila pakaliwa para maiwasan 'yung Liberty 5, huli na, kaya nagka-collision,”Unlike vehicles on land, vessels are trickier to maneuver because they glide on the water, he added.

But as the search entered its fifth full day, it could no longer be characterized as a rescue but a retrieval effort, Ursabia said, because the chances of finding survivors are now slim.“Usually, after 3 full days of search-and-rescue operations, if we still don’t find survivors, we shift to search-and-retrieval,” the PCG chief said.

The PCG and PCG auxiliary will extend “a little financial help” to the families of the missing persons, Ursabia said. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources also said it would give the families aid, including a sack of rice each, and motorized fiber glass boats.


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