Fifteen missing Filipino fishermen were rescued by a Panamian vessel after their boat capsized in waters near Bajo de Masinloc in Zambales province on Wednesday, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Sunday.

11rescue - Panamanian vessel rescues 15 Filipino fishermen in Zambales
(Philippine Coast Guard / MANILA BULLETIN)

PCG Spokesperson Capt. Armand Balilo said foreign bulk carrier M/V Kumano Maru was en route to Australia from China when they rescued the fishermen at vicinity waters approximately 75 nautical miles West of Agno, Pangasinan. They were reportedly clinging on the capsized fishing boat F/B Aqua Princess.

Based on PCG’s report, the boat, with 17 crew onboard, went on a fishing venture last Oct. 2 at around 9a.m.

But last Oct. 7 (Wednesday), the vessel started to be battered by big waves and eventually capsized at midnight.

Two crew members, Pedro Manalo Jr., 39 and Jerby Regala, 26, who suffered only minor wounds, were then instructed by boat captain Eddie Ariño to use their service boat and proceed to the nearest Coast Guard Station to call for help, leaving the rest clinging to the outrigger of the capsized fishing boat in the area.

The crew arrived Sunday morning at Barangay Cato in Infanta town and reported the said incident to the PCG sub-station.

The Coast Guard personnel of the Northern Luzon district, along with the members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the rescue team of Infanta, Pangasinan local government unit (LGU), immediately launched search and rescue operation and further requested for the issuance of Notice to Mariners alerting all transiting vessels within the vicinity to be on lookout and render necessary assistance to the said fishermen if found.

Around 12:30p.m., M/V Kumano Maru Capt. Bernard Tonding confirmed that the rescued fishermen are the boat captain and crew of F/B Aqua Princess.

The rescued fishermen are now in the rendezvous area at vicinity waters of Quinawan in Bagac, Bataan and will be turned over to the PCG’s patrol vessel BRP Malapascua (MRRV-4403) at 7p.m.

Coast Guard Station Pangasinan will fetch the said survivors from the PCG vessel at Cunanan Wharf in Manila back to Barangay Cato in Infanta.

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