Two More Deceased LCT Crewmembers Recovered off Mindanao

Search teams look for the missing crew of the Cebu Ocean City, April 22 (PCG)

Published Apr 26, 2021 10:26 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Philippine Coast Guard has recovered the bodies of two more missing crewmembers from the landing craft Cebu Great Ocean, which went aground in foul weather on the north end of Mindanao on April 19. 

All 20 of the LCT's crewmembers abandoned ship after the vessel lost her anchor and began taking on water. However, the Cebu Great Ocean did not sink: she drifted about 40 miles from her anchorage and went aground near Barangay Cantapoy, Malimono, in the province of Surigao del Norte. 

At the time of the grounding, the area was experiencing high winds due to the passage of Typhoon Surigae (also known as Typhoon Bising) to the east of Mindanao. The typhoon produced peak wind speeds of 120 mph near its epicenter and created rough surface conditions within a wide radius, disrupting inter-island shipping. 

Seven of the crewmembers were rescued by the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police and good samaritans. They were found in multiple locations along a 10-mile stretch of coastline between the towns of Malimono and San Francisco. PCG spokesman Commodore Armand Balilo told the AP that the survivors had been drifting in the water for two days, kept afloat by life rings and lifejackets. 

In the days after the grounding, local residents found the bodies of four deceased crewmembers along the shoreline in the same area. The victims were identified as Norman Galon, Michael Inoc, Jose Sherwin Laniba and Mark Evan Cuesta. 

Two more were found late last week. On Friday, the body of crewmember Klint Auxtero was recovered near Barangay Oslao - further to the north than the other rescues and recoveries - and the body of crewmember Limuel Dadivas was found near Barangay Balite at about the same time. Seven additional crewmembers remain missing. 

The Philippine Coast Guard has authorized salvage operations for the Cebu Ocean City, which remains aground with about 2,000 liters of diesel fuel and a cargo of nickel ore. ccording to local media, she sustained flooding in her engine room.