MANILA, Oct 3 (Mabuhay) – Malacañang and the Department of Foreign Affairs are verifying if there were Filipinos among the crew members of a cargo ship that went missing off the Bahamas as Hurricane Joaquin barreled through the island chain on Friday (US time).
In an interview on state-run dzRB radio on Saturday, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said: “We have asked the Department of Foreign Affairs to look into that particular report, and we expect that they will be giving us an update soon.”
Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Charles Jose said in a text message to GMA News Online that they had to check with the concerned office to verify if the cargo ship had Filipino crew members.
Earlier, an Agence France-Presse report said rescue workers searched for a missing cargo ship with 33 aboard off the Bahamas.
Contact with the El Faro was lost early Thursday, and that efforts to locate the vessel by air and sea have so far been unsuccessful, the AFP quoted the US Coast Guard as saying.
“The crew reported the ship had previously taken on water, but that all flooding had been contained,” it said in a statement.
En route from Florida to Puerto Rico, the container ship was reported to be caught in the storm near Crooked Island, which is part of the Bahamas.
It was from there that it sent a satellite notification stating the ship had lost propulsion and had a 15-degree list, the AFP report said.
Tim Nolan, president of the company that owns the El Faro, said the ship’s “officers and crew were monitoring what was then Tropical Storm Joaquin” when they sailed from Florida.
Meanwhile, data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration indicate there were 367,166 seabased Filipino workers deployed in 2013, while 467,915 seabased workers were processed in the same year.
Of these, 51,537 were able seamen, 29,730 were oilers, and 26,046 were ordinary seamen. (MNS)