2 missing as ships sink off Zamboanga del Sur, Basilan

By Roel Pareño

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A fishing boat sank Friday off the high seas of Bahanian, Tabina town, Zamboanga del Sur.

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Two fishing boats sank separately with two crew members missing and two others stranded in Zamboanga del Sur and Basilan, authorities said Saturday.

The Coast Guard here said an ill-fated fishing light boat capsized off the waters of Basilan.

Lt. Cmdr. Alvin Dagalea, Coast Guard station commander, said a distress call from a passing ship reported that the light boat of Sunrise Fishing fleet with four crew members capsized about 4 a.m. in the vicinity of Baluk-baluk island off Pilas Island municipality.

Dagalea said the fishing boat, including the ill-fated light boat, were on the fishing ground of northwest of Baluk-baluk Island on rough sea condition when big waves struck and capsized the vessel.

The Coast Guard station commander said two crew members were rescued but the boat captain and his companion were missing. 

“Search and rescue operation continued to locate the victims,” Dagalea said.

Police Regional Office 9 reported that another fishing boat MM Princess skippered by Rhofo Camatse and Elmil Tamparong Cerda, also sank Friday off the high seas of Bahanian, Tabina town, Zamboanga del Sur.

The police said the two crew members jumped overboard and were stranded at the floating buoy of fish shelter, waiting to be rescued.

Meanwhile, at least nine passengers, including six children, were rescued off Baluk-baluk island when their passenger motorized banca also capsized Friday afternoon.

The victims were traveling from Pilas Island to Isabela City, Basilan when their watercraft capsized.

Dagalea said the incident occurred despite having cancelled the trips of all ships from Sulu and Tawi-Tawi passing the area of Pilas Island.

The Coast Guard also retrieved unidentified remains believed to be of a woman who was washed ashore in Sta. Island Friday morning.

The remains that was already in the late stage of decomposition was headless and without lower extremities, the Coast Guard said. 

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