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Vessel Sinks Near Calapan City, 9 Missing

MV Sea Merchant, a cargo ship with 20 crewmen, sank near Calapan City in Mindoro Oriental Thursday afternoon, reported.

According to the report, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said the Antique-bound vessel encountered rough seas and strong winds. It was allowed to sail from Bauan, Batangas, Thursday noon because the weather was “fine,” but around 4 p.m., the weather turned bad.

Citing survivor accounts, the PCG said that when the ship started to list and take on water, the captain ordered the crew to abandon the ship.

The crew were able to escape on two life boats before the vessel sank off. The ship’s chief mate, Celso Rey Baiza and 10 more crewmen were rescued by a passenger ship as their raft drifted near Lobo, Batangas, late Thursday, the Inquirer reported.

Baiza, Rommel Zoleta, Constantino Torres, Philip Solomon, Lester John Carinos , Manny Mendiola, Ronnie Lebguban, Franklin Ibaṅez, Rochie Jakosalem, John Patrick Saklot and Leonard Roma were taken in by the PCG, said Capt. Gregorio Adel, deputy commander of the PCG Southern Tagalog District.

The other nine crewmen in the other life raft are still missing. However, Adel said the PCG was confirming reports that a passenger vessel had picked up nine people from a boat adrift in the sea, the report said.

MV Sea Merchant is owned by Fortune Sea Carrier Inc., a Philippine company.