Search and rescue operations are ongoing for 20 missing crewmembers of a vessel laden with nickel ore that ran aground at Malimono town on the southern island of Mindanao, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Tuesday.
The PCG said it responded to a maritime incident involving the Philippine-registered vessel LCT Cebu Great Ocean along the shoreline of Barangay Cantapoy in Malimono town on Monday afternoon.
According to initial investigation by PCG, in addition to nickel ore, LCT Cebu Great Ocean contains approximately 2,000 litres of diesel on board.
Reports said that eighteen of crewmembers who abandoned the vessel were still in a life raft when contact was lost on Tuesday.
“We had contact until this morning while their life raft was drifting. Search and rescue teams are having a hard time due to strong waves,” said PCG spokesman Armand Balilo.
The whereabouts of the other two crewmembers are not known. Balilo said that the report from the life raft to the station commander only said that two members of their crew were separated from them.
At around 19.30 hrs local time yesterday, the search and rescue operation was temporarily terminated due to poor visibility and rough sea condition.
The Philippines have been hit by strong winds and high waves caused by the strongest typhoon ever recorded in April, forcing more than 100,000 people to evacuate from coastal areas, according to disaster agencies.