Bulker Runs Down Fishing Boat off the Philippines
The Philippine Coast Guard is conducting a broad search and rescue operation in the waters of the Sulu Sea along one of the main shipping routes after a bulker ran down a fishing vessel. According to the Coast Guard, the collision took place Saturday, May 28 in the late afternoon with 13 crewmembers from the fishing boat initially rescued and seven others remain missing.
The 32,600 dwt bulker Happy Hiro registered in the Marshall Islands had departed China on May 20 bound for Australia. She was following one of the main shipping routes passing west of the Philippine chain when on Saturday afternoon around 5:40 p.m. local time she collided with FB JOT-18 south of Maracanao Island. The 580 foot bulker remained in the area assisting in the rescue and has now been detained in the Philippines.
A passing fishing boat rescued the 13 crew from the vessel and transferred them to the bulker for first aid. One of the crew suffered a head injury while the others were reported to be suffering from minor cuts and bruises. The Coast Guard later transferred the fishing boat crew to shore.
Happy Hiro was southbound to Australia (Coast Guard supplied photo)
The fishing boat capsized and sunk about 160 miles south of Maracanao Island. The Coast Guard ordered the bulker to sail to the port of Antique, where she remains.
“This is part of our port state control. Once the vessel docks, it will be inspected and investigated,” PCG spokesman Commodore Armand Balilo told the local media. He said they would be checking for the seaworthiness of the Happy Hiro. “We have to look at the circumstances surrounding the collision.”
Coast Guard cutters continue to search the area. They were being assisted by the aviation force from the Coast Guard.
Coast Guard reports 13 were saved with 7 still missing (PGC)