Two missing after cement carrier sinks off Philippines

The captain and the crane operator of MV Vital 355, the cement carrier which sank off Philippines, remain missing while the rest of the crew were rescued by a passing fishing boat 20 nautical miles north west of Naso Point in the Antique province, the Philippine Coast Guard reports.

MV Vital was reportedly underway from Carmen, Cebu to Cuyo, Palawan to transport its cargo of 20,000 bags of cement, when rough seas battered the ship causing it to tilt to port side and sink around 11:15 PM local time on Tuesday last week.

Four hours later, 11 of its crew were rescued by a passing fishing boat while on its way to Pedra, Cuyo, Palawan.

The incident was reported to the personnel of Coast Guard Station (CGS) San Jose de Buenavista by the Antique Provincial Police Office.

The personnel of said station immediately conducted a search and rescue operations for the missing seafarers and rendered necessary assistance to 11 others.

The survivors were brought to Barangay Bayo Grande in Antique and remained in custody of CGS San Jose de Buenavista.

The ship’s Chiefmate was advised to file a marine protest while the vessels transiting the area were told to be vigilant for the missing seafarers identified as Captain Celso L. Rafols, 64 years old, and Crane Operator Esmael Cabonce, 48 years old.

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