14 Filipinos missing from fishing boat after collision at sea
Hong Kong-flagged cargo vessel bound for Australia collided with FV Liberty 5 off the western coast of the Philippines.
The Philippine coastguard continued its search on Monday for 14 people missing since their fishing boat collided with a Hong Kong-flagged cargo vessel in choppy waters.
It was not immediately clear if the fishing boat sank and the search for its occupants was being hampered by strong waves, officials said.
The Philippine coastguard said the cargo vessel MV Vienna Wood collided with the FV Liberty 5 after midnight in the early morning hours of Sunday about 27km (17 miles) off the western coast of Mamburao town in Mindoro Occidental province south of the capital, Manila. The cause of the collision remains unclear.
A light plane and a helicopter joined a coastguard ship in the search on Monday for the 12 fishermen and two passengers who were on board the Liberty 5, coastguard spokesman Armando Balilo said.
The fishing boat had been heading for metropolitan Manila when the collision happened early on Sunday.
The damaged boat was spotted hours later, but there was no sign of the crew. The search was eventually called off at nightfall on Sunday, Philippine authorities said.
The Hong Kong-flagged cargo vessel with 20 crew on board was not carrying any cargo at the time of the collision. It had been en route to Australia.
According to the Philippine coastguard, the cargo vessel, which first reported the collision, was being escorted by a coastguard ship to nearby Batangas province for investigation.
The collision happened comes a year after a boat-ramming incident involving a Chinese vessel and a Filipino fishing boat carrying 22 Filipino fishermen that took place within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
The Filipino fishermen said that after the incident, the Chinese vessel abandoned them at sea, although they were later rescued by a Vietnamese trawler.
The owner of the Chinese ship later apologised for the incident, but has yet to pay any compensation.
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