4 dead, 7 survivors found from cargo vessel incident in Surigao del Norte

SURIGAO, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard on Wednesday said the remains of four crew members and seven survivors of a cargo vessel in Surigao del Norte were found from search and rescue operations, after the ship ran aground on April 19.

This photo shows Philippine Coast Guard personnel conducting search and rescue operations for the crew of a cargo ship that ran aground in Surigao del Norte

LCT Great Ocean Cebu hit the shore early this week amid rough sea conditions due to Typhoon “Bising” (international name Surigae), with 20 of its crew forced to abandon ship and later gone missing.

In a report, PCG said residents near the shoreline of Barangay Jugban, San Francisco recovered the bodies, one who was identified as Norman Galon while the three were not yet known.

The survivors were rescued from operations between Tuesday night and early this morning, and have since received medical assistance. PGC said they had to share life jackets and life rings to keep them afloat for two days.

They were: Roger Polo (Chief Mate), Arjie Bacarra, Joejie Villanueva, Noli Labucay, Felipe Queben, John Renzo Guanzon, and one unidentified crew member.

Coast guard has yet to conclude if the incident was due to the typhoon. But details surfacing today showed the ship anchored at the vicinity of waters off Jabonga in Agusan del Sur when it happened. 

“Due to bad weather and rough sea condition, the vessel’s anchor chain was cut off and seawater started coming in,” the report said, “causing massive flooding inside the vessel until it eventually listed. It was during this time when they declared ‘abandon ship’ and jumped off the water.”

Nine crewmembers, however, are still missing. The Philippine National Police’s maritime group has also joined the operations, which resumed at noon.

PCG added that it has deployed a land mobility vehicle to patrol the shorelines of Malimono and San Francisco in a bid to search for more possible survivors.

There are also no further details on the cargo ship, other than it was hired by a mining company, according to PCG spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo.

It was reportedly carrying nickel ore and 2,000 liters of diesel, which prompted a PCG team to also check for oil spill in the vicinity of the incident.

Reporting by Albert Rovic Tan / AdChoiceTV News

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