'SF Freighter' sinks off Romblon; one dies, 12 missing, three rescued

August 10, 2010 10:45 am 

MANILA, Aug. 9 –An engineer died while 12 other remained missing after their cargo ship MV "SF Freighter" sank off Dos Hermanas Island, Romblon Saturday morning, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said on Monday.

Lieutenant Commander Arman Balilo, PCG spokesman, said three of the cargo ship's crew members, including the ship captain, were rescued in separate places in Quezon province.

Balilo said an unnamed engineer of the M/V SF Freighter was reported dead.

Balilo said vessel’s skipper Julito Cortejos, assistant engineer Joseph Jabonite Jr. and crane operator Jerry Cortez were rescued.

Search and rescue operations (SARs) continued for the remaining 12 missing crewmen of the sunken vessel, which was loaded with steel bars in the vicinity of Dos Hermanas Islands, Romblon province early Saturday morning.

The lone fatality was found in General Luna, Quezon while Captain Cortejos and Cortez were all rescued in General Luna, Quezon Province.

While Jabonite was rescued in Catanauan, Quezon province.

Reports reaching the PCG headquarters in Manila showed that at 8:30 p.m. of Aug. 5, the SF Freighter, which is owned by Seaford Shipping Co., was on the way to Cebu from Manila when battered by huge waves at 11 nautical miles from Semirara Island in Romblon Saturday.

The vessel encountered engine trouble prompting Cortejos to change its course and take shelter in Marinduque at 1:30 a.m. last Saturday in the vicinity of Dos Hermanas Island.

The vessel float dead on water and started tilting sideways and on showed it was on the verge of sinking.

At 2:20 a.m., the skipper directed his crew to abandon ship. The 16 officers and crew divided themselves into two groups and boarded the two lifeboats. < Balilo said that the ship captain managed to call Seaford Shipping manager Heden Chua about the incident, who then informed the PCG in Western Visayas and sought its assistance. (PNA) RMA/JES

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