China, Korea, Taiwan help sought in search for missing Pinoy seafarers

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 24 2020 12:24 PM

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The government has sought help from China, South Korea and Taiwan to search for 36 Filipino seafarers who have been missing for over 3 weeks after their typhoon-battered ship capsized off Japan, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration said Thursday. 

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has sent them letters requesting that they check their islands located near the shipwreck, said POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia. 

“Ang ating nais po ay patuloy ang search and rescue operations. Kahit matagal na pong nangyari, nagbabakasakali tayong napunta po sa malalayong lugar ang ating mga kababayan," he told TeleRadyo. 

(We want to continue the search and rescue operations. We are still hoping that our compatriots were washed away to distant areas.)

"Ang assumption natin, hanggang hindi nakikita iyong kanilang labi, sila po ay buhay pa at aasa tayo na makikita pa natin ang ating mga kababayan," he said. 

(Our assumption is that until their bodies have not been found, they are still alive and we will still see our compatriots.)

Authorities saved 2 Filipinos from the Sept. 2 shipwreck of Gulf Livestock 1. A third Filipino crew member eventually died after he was rescued. 

The ship, longer than a soccer field and carrying some 6,000 cows, was on its way to Japan from New Zealand during the onslaught of Typhoon Haishen.

Gulf Livestock 1 lost an engine as it traversed choppy seas off the coast of Japan. Then a wave flooded its deck in the dark of night, forcing the vessel to list at a precarious angle, according to Filipino survivor Sareno Edvardo. 

The Philippines is one of the world’s leading suppliers of merchant seafarers, whose remittances help fuel the country’s economy. Last year, there were nearly 500,000 Filipino seafarers on vessels ranging from oil tankers to cruise ships. — With a report from The New York Times 

TeleRadyo, Sept. 24, 2020