DAVAO CITY: One of the missing crew of the ill-fated cargo ship that sank off Vietnam last week, Alexis Piala Bacalla, described his last moments on his Facebook account.
Hours before the cargo ship went down, Bacalla, who hails from Davao, said he was feeling nauseous.
In his Facebook status at 10:44 p.m. on January 1, Bacalla said he was feeling “seasick” because of the huge rolling waves, hangover and lack of sleep.
When a friend asked about his location, he said in Filipino: “The storm is coming to where we are . . . close to Vietnam.”
Bacalla graduated cum laude from Davao Marine Merchant Academy of Southern Philippines in 2011.
“Sending love and prayers to the family and friends of Alex,” said the owner of the school, Davao City councilor Al Ryan Alejandre.
The cargo ship, which had an all-Filipino crew, sank off eastern Vietnam on January 2.
Only the chef, Angelito Capindo Roxas, was rescued.
The bodies of the captain, Ronel Acueza Andrin, 45, and third officer Jerome Dinoy, 23, have been recovered.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the remains of the sailors will be repatriated to Manila.
Charles Jose, Foreign Affairs spokesman, said the search for the 16 other missing sailors continues.
Malacañang on Monday said the Philippines may send a team to help in the search.
“We are asking the Secretary of National Defense if we can extend assistance,” Palace spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters in a news conference.
“The Vietnamese Navy has already added three helicopters for the search and they are asking other countries to help. So far, no new remains have been recovered or survivors rescued,” he said.
Vietnamese news agency Tuoi Tres News identified the missing Filipinos as Renner Carl Resos Abugadie, Gibbson Ladica Ranara, Alexis Thomas Piala Bacalla, Joseph Bantolino Damasen, Lot Olavides Correos, Reydante Santos Mendoza, Ricky Arangorin Gapasin, Jonniefer Derapite Aleta, Renator Flores Toribio, Wynfred Penaranda Balazo, Edgar Tabanao Melecio, George Barbaso Espliguera Jr., Edwin Deriada Acebo, Rosilo Navarro Sansolis, Gilbert Feliciano Flora and Mark Timothy Denosta Causarin.
Jose said the Philippine government is committed to do “whatever it can” to increase the protection of Filipino seafarers. He added that the DFA “is saddened by these unfortunate events and we sympathize with the affected seafarers and their families.”
“Such incidents highlight the risks that our seafarers face whenever they are deployed at sea,” Jose said.
The Philippines supplies one-third of the world’s shipping manpower. A total of 438,000 Filipino seafarers work for foreign companies, based on data from the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines.
Jose said the Philippine government will continue doing all it can to protect Filipino seafarers “and extend a helping hand to them and their loved ones in times of need.”
At least two separate incidents involving Filipino seafarers happened at the start of the new year.
On January 2, Bulk Jupiter, which was carrying iron ore from Malaysia to China, sank off the coast of Vung Tau City in Vietnam.
On January 3, a Filipino seafarer was among the eight missing when the Cypriot-registered cargo vessel Cemfjord capsized 15 miles from Wick in northeast Scotland because of bad weather.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is searching for the eight crew of the vessel, which was carrying cement.