Six Missing After Two Cargo Ships Sink Separately in the Philippines

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Location of Fortune Island in the Philippines.

A total of six people are missing after two cargo ships sank in the Philippines in separate incidents less than 24 hours apart. 

The first incident occurred early Tuesday morning. The Philippines Coast Guard reported that the M/V Virginia 1, with 11 crew members on board, caught fire and sank at about 1 a.m. Tuesday approximately 8 nautical miles from Fortune Island, off the coast of Nasugbu, Batangas. The PCG reported that five are missing and one crew member has died.

The four survivors, including the captain, told authorities that the fire was noticed in cabin adjacent to the smoke stack of the vessel. Crew members attempted to combat the fire but it quickly spread to the main deck, reaching the midship section where combustible cargoes were stored. The Master gave the order to abandon ship at 2 a.m. and, according to survivors’ statements, six crew boarded a life raft while five others were able to board a lifeboat. At one point the lifeboat capsized due to strong wind and waves. At least one of those crew members died as the four others managed to cling to the overturned lifeboat and were later rescued by a fisherman and brought to shore.

The PCG says that a fifth survivor was rescued by a fisherman at a nearby island. According to that survivor, after the crew split up into two groups following the abandon ship order, he was actually left behind by the five who boarded the life raft, and who are now remain missing.

The PCG’s latest update said a search was on-going for the five missing crew members who abandoned ship in the life raft.

The M/V Virginia 1 is owned by Virginia Shipping Lines Corporation of Manila, Philippines. The vessel was sailing from Roxas, Palawan from Delpan Pier, Binondo, Manila, the PCG said.

Meridian Tres Sinking

In a separate, completely unrelated incident on Tuesday, the PCG reports that the PCG reports that the M/V Meridian Tres sank near the Sto Niño diving spot in Bohol at about 9:25 p.m. Tuesday night. Of the 29 crew members, 28 were rescued and one person remains missing, the PCG said.

The PCG said the investigation so far has revealed that, while en route from Cebu City to Tacloban City, a stack of containers collapsed in strong winds and waves, causing the vessel to list by as much as 40 degrees. The vessel ended up submerged Sto Niño Dive Site, Bohol, the PCG said. The PCG said they have issued an alert to mariners to be on the lookout for the missing person.

The M/V Meridian Tres is owned and operated by Meridian Cargoes Forwarder Incorporation based in the Philippines, the PCG reported.