36 Filipino Seafarers Still Missing 57 Days After Ship Capsized Off Japan
Authorities are still receiving appeals from the families of 36 Filipino seafarers who went missing almost two months ago when their ship capsized off Japan. They continue to urge the authorities to carry on the search and rescue missions for their loved ones.
Wife of missing seaman Ronald Fortun, Mary Joy Fortun, pleaded to lawmakers in an emotional state for help on Thursday during a committee hearing of overseas workers’ affairs at the House of Representatives.
She says that even though she is grateful to the government of the Philippine and Japan, she believes their efforts have not been sufficient. Adding to that she also said that owner of the M/V Gulf Livestock 1 has stopped paying her husband’s salary.
She said, “I would like to appeal to this body to please help us, maawa kayo sa amin, hinihingi lang po namin sa may-ari sa pamamagitan po ng ating gobyerno na tulungan kami na magkaroon ng (Have mercy on us, we are just asking the owner through our government to help us have) search and rescue.”
M/V Gulf Livestock 1 had a crew of 43 members out of which 39 were Filipino, they also carried around 5,800 live cows. This enormous vessel capsized in the seas of southern Japan on September 2 amid a typhoon after facing engine difficulties. One of the Filipino crewmen was found dead, while two others were rescued alive.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), among the four other crew members on the ship one was from Australia, one from Singapore, two were from New Zealand.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. has requested the Japan Coast Guard to continue search and rescue missions, and that Tokyo has given guaranteed for “robust patrol operations” in the East China Sea.
“As of the moment, the Japanese Coast Guard has not found any significant clue but continues the search for the missing crew… Other nearby countries have also assured cooperation,” Arriola said.
Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Administrator Hans Cacdac said the families of the missing mariners have received a livelihood package, financial aid of P200,000, and scholarship for one dependent until they graduate from college.
The families of the two survivors have gotten psychosocial counselling, stress debriefing, a similar scholarship for one dependent, and P100,000, while the family of the deceased seaman has been provided with death and burial assistance along with livelihood and scholarship benefits.