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2 cargo ships sink in Philippines, all 32 local, foreign crew members safe

A cargo ship loaded with cement sank in the Visayas on Sunday while another vessel carrying iron ore went down off the Bicol region, the Coast Guard reported Sunday. All 32 crewmen from both ships were rescued.
The MV Seaford 2, a Philippine cargo ship with 18 Filipino crewmen, was headed for Antique province with about 35,000 sacks of cement when its hull hit a hard object, took in water and sank early Sunday.
Coast Guard and Antique officials were monitoring a possible oil spill from the vessel, which left Iligan City with 9,000 liters of fuel oil, Coast Guard spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Algier Ricafrente said.
Separately, a ship carrying iron ore, the Panamanian-registered MV Sun Spirit, began to list Saturday off Catanduanes province and sent a distress signal.
Though Coast Guard officials immediately deployed three ships and a helicopter for a search and rescue, it was a Philippine cargo ship and a fishing boat that saved the crew of 12 Indonesians and two Koreans, who had abandoned the ship, Coast Guard Adm. Ramon Liwag said.
It was not immediately clear why the ship sank. It was bound for China after leaving Leyte province, officials said.
All the 18 crew members of the Seaford 2 were rescued by fishermen and rescue teams, according to Chief Insp. Gilbert Gorero, police chief of the capital town of San Jose, Antique.
Commodore Athelo Ybañez, Coast Guard Western Visayas commander, said the vessel sank one nautical mile off the coast of San Jose at 9:06 a.m. Sunday, around seven hours after the crew abandoned ship.
Ybañez said the vessel was on its way to Culasi town in Antique from Lugait in Misamis Oriental when it struck a hard object near midnight on Saturday.
Citing an initial investigation, Ybañez said the vessel took in water from a hole in its hull and listed to its starboard (right) side before the crew abandoned ship.
The Coast Guard identified the rescued crew members as ship captain Mario Mula, Angelo del Rio, Nicolas Canencia, Ernesto Porcia, Dennis Ambong, Randy Saludo, Rommel Lovino, Dexter Agabon, Bryll Molo, Norman Jagolina, Ricardo Genine Jr., John Mark Alet, Mark Ace Trogani, John Santander, Rogelio Caalem, Jose Galan, Richard Wenceslao and Ronald Geniralez.
Cement bags dumped
The vessel was owned by Seaford Shipping Lines Inc. based in Bacolod City with its mother port in Cebu.
The vessel was carrying around 7,000 liters of diesel fuel in its tanks when it sank.
Ybañez said oil spill control booms and other equipment were deployed as part of contingency measures against an oil spill.
The San Jose Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office has also deployed improvised oil spill booms at the site of the sinking off the coast of Barangay San Pedro in San Jose.
Ybañez said the Coast Guard would also seek assistance from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to determine the possible effects of the dumping of the 35,000 bags cement on marine life.
On the other hand, the Sun Spirit’s crew of 14—two South Koreans and 12 Indonesians—were on a life raft drifting toward the island of Rapu-Rapu in Albay when they were rescued by fishermen and a passing cargo vessel shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday.
The crewmen were brought to Virac where they rested for several hours before leaving onboard a Navy vessel for Legazpi City, where they were expected to arrive at 9 p.m. Sunday, according to Ens. Joe Mark Angue, Coast Guard operations officer in Bicol.
Cargo shifted
The Sun Spirit, owned by Yokohama Marine and Merchant Corp., was loaded with 9,970 metric tons of iron ore sand and was bound for China when it left MacArthur Port in Tacloban City in Leyte on Saturday morning, according to Cha Chi Moon, the vessel’s chief engineer.
He said they left Leyte in good weather but the first sign of trouble came at around 1 p.m., when the sand got wet and the cargo started shifting to one side.
He said they immediately sent out an SOS and tried to keep the vessel afloat but it eventually sank in the early hours of Sunday, forcing them to abandon ship.
Aside from Cha, the other crew members were the ship captain, South Korean Park Sheol Eon, and Indonesians Soer Janot, Adi Sutresno, Ali Emron, Tony Leston, Sukardi Sudarto, Zaimal Arafin, Bosom, Godfan Arif, Mas Ud, Muhayat, Agus Sugiarte, Qushendra and Mat Rohim. Many Indonesians go by only one name.
Angue said his office received the distress call from the Sun Spirit at about 1 p.m. Saturday.
He said Capt. Leopoldo Laroya, Coast Guard district commander, immediately dispatched search and rescue teams. The Navy also sent two helicopters and two sea vessels. 
Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Inquirer Visayas;  Fernan Gianan, Mar S. Arguelles, Jonas Soltes and Rey Nasol, Inquirer Southern Luzon; AP
Originally posted: 4:55 pm | Sunday, January 22nd, 2012


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