The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has reportedly filed several complaints against the crew members of the Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship that ran into a collision with a Filipino fishing boat off Palawan. During a press briefing on 1 June, Artemio Abu, the PCG Commandant Admiral said the PCG filed complaints about reckless imprudence that resulted in several homicides, injuries, and damage to properties against these members of MV Happy Hiro: Amir Meshay who is the Ship Master, Bogdan George Antonie who is the second mate, and its officers Mckinley Panuncialman Amante and Tyrone Albina Maquiling. The PCG had filed complaints on 31st May, three days post the collision.
Per PCG Station Antique, MV Happy Hiro was involved in the following violations: departing from the port with no PCG clearance. This could result in a penalty of P10,000; the ship master’s incompetency to achieve the Master Declaration of Safe Departure. That could amount to a penalty of P50,000.
During the briefing, Abu added that even though the PCG filed a complaint, it had not assumed that the missing men were dead. The commandant said that they even went ahead to recalibrate the operations from search and rescue and made it search and retrieval.
Abu mentioned that the cargo ship owner had sent lawyers for the crew. MV Happy Hiro would remain in the country while waiting for the court order, per Abu. The PCG commandant referred to scratches on the Marshallese ship in their complaints, as these supported the fact that it collided with the Filipino fishing boat. The scratches were discovered during an underwater inspection.
MV Happy Hiro reportedly hit the Philippines-based fishing boat in waters off Maracanao Island. Abu did confirm that the boat had been anchored in the waters when the cargo ship hit it. Following the incident, a transiting boat managed to rescue 13 seamen of the 20 onboard the Filipino boat. The rescued fisher-folks were majorly residents of Cebu.
Among those rescued, 12 sustained minimal scratches, the other one, however, suffered a minor injury on his head.