DOLE: China, Korea, Taiwan agree to help in search of missing crewmen

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    ALL is not lost for the families of the missing crew members of the ill-fated M/V Gulf Livestock 1 that sank in the waters of Japan earlier this month.

    In a virtual media conference yesterday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Korea, China and Taiwan have committed to help in the search operations for the missing seafarers, most of whom are Filipinos.

    “Upon the request of their next of kin, we sent letters to Korea, China, and Taiwan for them to assist in the search and rescue operations. Luckily, they responded and said they will be ready to help,” Bello said, adding the three countries had been conducting search operations on their own since the tragedy happened.

    An official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines appealed to the Philippine government and the owner of the ill-fated cargo ship to continue the search for the missing crew members.

    In a statement ahead of the National Seafarers Day on Sunday, CBCP-Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People Vice Chairman Bishop Ruperto Santos called on authorities not give up in searching for the missing seafarers from the M/V Gulf Livestock 1.

    “We are making a direct and strong appeal to the ship owner, Gulf Navigation Holding, to resume the searching and support their respective families in every possible way,” said Santos.

    “Likewise, we are making an urgent appeal to the Philippine Government to extend any assistance and/or to act on behalf of the heartbroken families to request the neighboring countries in conducting search and rescue within their scope of waters and islands,” he added.

    Bello said the firm that owns the ship also wants to help in the search operations.

    “The owners of the ship communicated to me that they are looking for their best divers because they want to join in the search operations,” said Bello.

    He said these developments will be relayed to the families of the missing crew members.

    Joining the online meeting were the two surviving crew members of Gulf Livestock – Chief Officer Eduardo Sareno and deck crew Jay-nel Rosales, who arrived home last Saturday.

    “The next of kin and the relatives are not losing hope that they are still alive,” said Bello.

    Early this month, the Gulf Livestock 1 sank in Japanese waters after experiencing engine trouble while caught in a typhoon. The ship was carrying about 5,800 cattle and 43 crew members, including 39 Filipinos, two Australians, and two New Zealanders.

    Just three Filipino crewmen have been found, one of them dead.

    The remaining 40 crew members, including 36 Filipinos, are still considered as missing.