Sea mishap victims recall ordeal at sea

February 27, 2013 at 10:18 pm Leave a comment


By Yolanda Sotelo

SUAL — When the MV Harita Bauxite started sinking at past ten o’clock in the evening of Saturday (February 16), Ship Captain Win Kyu blew the whistle and shouted “Abandon ship!”
In seven minutes, the ship has sank to the bottom of the West Philippine and 14 of its 24 crew, including Win Kyu, went missing.
Some were able to board two life rafts, while the others jumped into the water. Nine of them survived but two were injured. One was bitten by a “big fish” and died.
Around an hour later, passing vessel MV Jin Cheng, a Chinese vessel, plucked them out from the cold sea, which then radioed the Philippine Coast Guard about the sea mishap. The victims stayed at the Chinese vessel until a vessel of the Coast Guard came to fetch them and brought to the safety of the shore.
This was how the survivors of the vessel carrying Myanmar flag recalled the ordeal they underwent while cruising the West Philippine Sea 17 nautical miles northwest of Bolinao town in Western Pangasinan.
The MV Harita Bauxite, carrying nickel ore, came from Indonesia and was on its way to China when its engine developed engine trouble, said CPO Ricardo Abalos, assistant station of Philippine Coast Guard in Sual town.
Seven of the survivors were brought to the coast guard station here at around nine o’clock Sunday night after coast guard officials them fetched from the MV Jin Cheng.
Abalos said the body of the dead crew member, Myint Aung who was the chief cook, was brought to the De Guzman funeral parlor in Alaminos City. The two injured –Cho Aye and Thant Zin Moe, were taken to the Lorma Hospital in San Fernando City in La Union, for treatment but are in stable condition, he said.
Kyi Win, the vessel’s chief officer and second in command, said Myin Aung was bitten by a big fish in his buttocks which could have caused his death.
Milchito Castro, regional director of the Office of the Civil Defense, said the coast guard has terminated its aerial search and rescue operations at 12:30 noon of Sunday.
He said based on the areal assessment of coast guard which scoured the West Philippine Sea, there were no trace of the life rafts which some of the crew members could have boarded.
“But they saw many fishing boats and sea vessels passing through the area and it would be possible for them to spot them. We have also given instruction to agencies concerned to conduct foot patrol along the coastal areas as there could be survivors there,” he said.
The survivors, to be escorted by a Bureau of Immigration official, will be brought to the Coast Guard district northwestern Luzon headquarters at the Poro Point in San Fernando City where their papers will be processed for their return to Myamar, Castro said.
Aside from the two injured crew members, the survivors from the sea mishap are C/O Kyi Win, 3/O Khin Maung Win,2/E Aung Kyaw Khine, A/B Aung Thu Nyein, A/B Win Saw, O/S WIN Min Thein and oiler Aung San Min.
Still missing are Master Win KYi, 2/0 Myo Aung, C/E Ye Lwin, 3/E Man Maung Maung, 4/E Aung Thura Win, 4/E Myint Maung Maung Kyi, E/E Kyaw Min Min Win, Bosun Khin Maung Myint, A/B Ye Lwin Htay, E/Filter Khin Maung, Oiler Kyaw Thu Win, Oiler Myi Thant, Wiper Aung Kyaw Zaw and M/Boy San Lwin Oo.
Meantime, the coast guard is shifting its attention to the reported oil spill in the area where the MV Harita Bauxite sank.
“We will use the Coast Guard’s oil spill contingency plan and immediately dispatch personnel and equipment to the area to contain the oil spill,” he said.

Entry filed under: News.

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