August 2nd, 2012
Cebu Daily News
AFTER floating in the rough seas for a day, the five fishermen who were reported missing last Monday in Guintarcan Island, Sta. Fe town in northern Cebu, were rescued off the waters of Biliran Island in Eastern Visayas on Tuesday afternoon.
Marcelino Abliana, 44; Emmanuel Padilla, 30; Mario Padilla, 40; Froilan Albilda, 26; and Benjie Sinatad, 32; were confined in the rural health unit of Biliran after their rescue in barangay Maripipi, Biliran Island. They are all from Lipayran, Bantayan Island.
Sta. Fe police, however, were still searching for another missing fisherman, Tata Ponteras.
Initial reports showed that the pumpboat of the fishermen capsized after encountering strong winds and big waves off the coast of Guintarcan Island in Sta. Fe town.
According to Cebu Coast Guard Station commander Rolando Punzalan, the fishermen probably clung to their capsized pumpboat and drifted to Biliran Island east of Bantayan Island.
Punzalan said the boat capsized after they encountered large waves and strong winds caused by the southwest monsoon or habagat that has been enhanced by typhoon Gener at past 4 p.m. last Monday.
PO2 Ryan Famor of the Maripipi police told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview that barangay Maripipi residents saw the fishermen clinging to their boat at past 3 p.m. on Tuesday about 100 meters from the shoreline.
They informed the Bantay Dagat team who rescued the fishermen.
The five fishermen were weak from hunger when rescued, said Famor.
Municipal health workers have placed the fishermen under observation at the rural health facility.
Meanwhile, the Cebu Coast Guard station still barred all the fastcrafts and small vessels from sailing for the fourth straight day on Wednesday.
Ocean Fast Ferries Corp. Manager Genaro Lastimado admitted that the company, which operates OceanJet fastcrafts, incurred losses because of the bad weather.
Despite this, Lastimado said they would heed the Coast Guard’s order and not risk their passengers.
OceanJet fastcrafts sail everyday to Tagbilaran City in Bohol, Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental and Siquijor.
Commander Punzalan said he hoped that the weather would be better today so sea travel could resume.
Punzalan announced early Wednesday that the Coast Guard could not allow the fastcrafts and small conventional vessels (or below 1,000 gross tonnage) to sail because the waves outside the Mactan Channel are 4 to 8 feet in height.
Punzalan said last Tuesday, they allowed small conventional vessels to sail particularly MV Jade Star to Tubigon, Bohol at 11 a.m. but the vessel’s captain decided to return to Cebu City because of the big waves.
Last night, Punzalan said, based on their assessment, the ban for fastcrafts and small conventional vessels remains.
A number of stranded passengers are staying at the port terminal.
Among the affected routes are Tubigon, Tagbilaran and Getafe Bohol; BayBay and Hilongos Leyte. /Rhea Ruth V. Rosell and Jhunnex Napallacan
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