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Ship collision leaves Pinoy safety officer, Chinese seafarer dead, 3 missing

Ship collision leaves 2 dead, 3 missing
Franco Jose C. Baroña, Dennis Abrina and Ernie Esconde April 30, 2023

(UPDATE) A FILIPINO safety officer and a Chinese seafarer died when two foreign ships collided off Corregidor Island Friday night, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said on Saturday.

The PCG said the two ships were identified as the MT Petite Soeur, a Marshall-flagged chemical/oil product tanker, and the MV Hong Hai 189, a Sierra Leone-flagged dredger, which capsized following the collision.

Coast Guard Commander Hostillo Arturo Cornelio of the National Capital Region-Central Luzon district on Saturday said the accident happened at about 10 p.m.

Speaking in Filipino, Cornelio said the Hong Hai 189 was about to dock "when the Petite Soeur changed berth, hitting the starboard stern of the dredger and causing a hole that caused it to capsize."

Cornelio said the tanker was also damaged.

The Filipino safety officer died while being treated at the Bataan General Hospital for injuries.

The body of the Chinese crewmember was recovered by the search and rescue (SAR) team at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

The identities of the fatalities have yet to be disclosed.

The SAR team was also able to rescue two more crewmembers who were immediately brought to the nearest hospital for identification and medical assistance.

A rescue vessel in the area of the accident rescued 16 crew of the MV Hong Hai 189.

Meanwhile, those from the MT Petite Soeur were safe.

Rear Admiral Armando Balilo, PCG spokesman, said the Coast Guard Aviation Force is currently conducting an aerial survey to augment the SAR operations on the search for three missing crewmembers while the PCG vessel, BRP Capones, proceeded to the vicinity of the mishap to help.

The PCG, meanwhile, dispatched another vessel with aluminum and rubber boats.

The PCG said prior to the incident, the MV Hong Hai 189 was traveling from Botolan in Zambales with 20 crewmembers on board while the last port of call of the MT Petite Soeur was in Mariveles, Bataan.

Balilo also said that the authorities are conducting "a port state control inspection."

Cornelio said that the tanker had been detained and initial investigation showed "safety violations."

"We have momentarily detained the chemical tanker for safety reasons and to conduct maritime casualty investigation," said Cornelio.

He said that if it is determined that there is "negligence by both parties, appropriate charges will be filed and the ships will definitely have to stay."

He said they have contacted a salvage vessel that will tow the Hong Hai 189, "which is currently stuck at the Traffic Separation Scheme," adding they will try to remove the ship and prevent it from sinking.

Three Dead in Collision Between Dredger and Product Tanker