F/B Anatalia made emergency calls 40 minutes after collision –PCG

January 15, 2010 10:50 pm 

MANILA, Jan. 15 –A duty officer of the Vessel Traffic Monitoring System (VTMS) said on Friday that he suspected the emergency call flashed by fishing boat (F/B) Anatalia on Christmas Eve was a prank call.

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Apprentice Seaman Jouelson Binauhan testified on Friday before a Special Board of Marine Inquiry (SBMI)that it took him two minutes before he could act on the emergency call sent by F/B Anatalia because of his suspicion that it was just a prank call.

Binauhan was among the witnesses who testified during the first hearing of the SBMI on the collision between F/B anatalia and M/V Catalyn-B off Limbones Island on Christmas Eve.

He said he received the emergency call from F/B Anatalia at about 1:54 a.m. of Dec. 24, or about 40 minutes after the collision.

He said he was the duty officer at the VTMS from 12 midnight of Dec. 23 until 8 a.m. of Dec. 24.

He initially doubted the call because F/B Anatalia chief mate Jose Arenas did not immediately tell him that the fishing boat figured a collision.

He decided to wait for another contact because of his encounter with prank calls in the past. The delay to act on the emergency call was just two minutes.

After two minutes, he made contact with F/B Anatalia and was informed that it figured a collision with M/V Catalyn-B.

He said that the fishing boat's crew told him the boat location and was located in the right-of-way.

“The Anatalia was asking for rescue teams to save others which might have been carried away by the strong current,” Binauhan said.

Binauhan asked Arenas about M/V Catalyn B. He said he was informed that it had sunk, prompting him to radio and request other vessels in the area to help the distressed passenger vessel.

He also recalled that prior to the radio message sent by F/B Anatalia to VTMS, M/V Catalyn B first sent radio message to VTMS at about 1:14 a.m. of Dec. 24, saying “VTMS Corregidor, VTMS Corregidor.”

Binauhan said he tried to establish contact with the caller from M/V Catalyn but failed.

Commodore Luis Tuason Jr., PCG-National Capital Region-Central Luzon district commandant and chairman of SBMI, said they were proposing to place additional buoys to mark the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), where the collision incident occurred.

The PCG has so far recovered 25 dead bodies, 46 survivors and recorded at least two missing passengers from M/V Catalyn B. (PNA) RMA/JES

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