MANILA — The Philippine Coast Guard on Thursday said it has called off the search for the 14 missing crewmembers of a Panamian-flagged cargo ship that sank in the waters off the Philippines on February 17.
Coast Guard Northwestern Luzon district commander Captain Pablo Gonzalez said the signs of the missing Burmese-nationals were nowhere to be found in the area of where the M/V Harita Bauxite capsized and sank last Sunday.
“We haven’t seen any indication that there were still survivors”, Gonzales said.
Gonzales added that the rough sea condition further prevented them from resuming search and rescue operations and, based on witness testimonies, some of the missing are believed to have sank with vessel.
Still, the PCG says that they are holding onto hope that signs of missing crewmen will turn up.
“Our people are still on standby from Bolinao down to Infanta, Pangasinan. We are still hoping that we could get feedback from fishermen and vessels passing by,” Gonzales said.
Reports from the Coast Guard Action Center (CGAC) in Manila indicate that so far only one crewmember has been confirmed dead, nine were rescued, and 14 are still missing in the incident.
The PCG also added that an oil spill has been spotted in the area but heavy sea conditions caused by Tropical Storm ‘Crising’ has made containment of the spill nearly impossible.
As reported earlier the M/V Harita Bauxite sank after encountering engine trouble near Cape Bolinao in the Pangasinan province.