• Search for Pinoy sailors continue

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    The search for 16 Filipino crew of a cargo vessel that sank off the coast of Vung Tau City in Vietnam continues even as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has taken action to bring home the remains of the other victims.

    The Bulk Jupiter, which was traveling from Malaysia to China, was manned by 19 Filipino crew.

    In a text message to reporters, Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose said one sailor, the chief cook, was rescued. Two bodies were recovered.

    Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a note verbale to the Philippine Embassy in Hanoi on Saturday to confirm the sinking of the 56,000-ton Bahamian-flagged vessel that went down at 9:41 p.m. on Friday off the East Vietnam Sea, or 150 nautical miles from Vung Tau City.

    “Vietnamese authorities are leading the rescue operations, with the participation of vessels from Liberia, Oman, Singapore and China,” Jose said.

    He added that the manning agency has been communicating with the families of the crew as well as with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

    The Philippine Embassy is also coordinating with the Vietnam Maritime Research and Rescue Coordinating Center and the Philippine Honorary Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, “in gathering updates and making arrangements for the repatriation of the rescued seafarer and the retrieved remains,” Jose said.

    Malacañang also on Sunday gave assurances that the Philippine government will help the seamen.

    “Nakahanda naman pong tumulong ang ating pamahalaan sa bawat paraan na nararapat para po makabigay ng kalinga sa kanila at sa kanilang mga pamilya [Our government will help in every way it can for the sailors and for the welfare of their families],” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a radio interview.

    The Philippines is one of the world’s largest providers of shipping manpower in the world.

    WITH CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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