Fishers call for “continuous retrieval operations”; urge authorities to salvage capsized vessel
Manila, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has already called off its search and retrieval operations on the 14 missing Filipino fishing crew without “going into the bottom and looking inside the capsized vessel to see if there are any trapped bodies”, according to the militant fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Friday.
During the group’s visit at the office of the Irma Fishing and Trading Inc., the owner company of the capsized F/V Liberty Cinco, on Thursday, PAMALAKAYA learned that the fishing company was also asking the PCG to look inside the fishing vessel.
“Why would the PCG end its search and retrieval mission when they have yet to look inside the capsized vessel? We assumed it was the first thing that they have done until they implied in earlier statement that the bodies of the missing crew could’ve gone down with the vessel,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA urged the PCG to continue and step up its search and retrieval operations by salvaging the capsized vessel, and “thoroughly search” for possible trapped bodies inside.
“Salvaging the vessel should’ve been done from the very beginning to confirm if the fishing crew remain on board. It is unfortunate that the PCG has already called off its retrieval operations when they have yet to exhaust all the possible means to find the bodies and without giving closure to the bereaved families,” Hicap added.
The fisherfolk group reiterated that the owner of the Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship should shoulder the cost of the entire salvaging operations of the capsized vessel. ###