Korean fishing vessel catches fire off Catanduanes, 34 crew rescued

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    A KOREAN fishing vessel on its way to Uruguay caught fire off Panganiban town in Catanduanes on Tuesday, the Philippine Coast Guard reported yesterday.

    The 34 crewmembers of the ill-fated FV No. 96 Oyang – 22 Indonesians, 10 Koreans and two Filipinos – were rescued by a passing oil tanker.

    The Korean vessel came from Busan, South Korea and was headed to Montevideo, Uruguay when crewmembers noticed a thick black smoke coming from the engine room.

    Moments later, a huge fire broke out at around 2 a.m., forcing the vessel’s captain to declare “abandon ship” an hour later.

    A passing oil tanker, MV Golden Aspirant, rescue the crew members while coordinating with the PCG.

    The rescued crewmembers were brought to the Port of Cebu where they were given food and tested for COVID-19.

    “Afterwards, they were transported to a designated quarantine facility while waiting for their RT-PCR test results,” the PCG said.

    As of yesterday, the crewmembers were being monitored by a representative from the shipping company that owns the ill-fated fishing vessel, the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging and Infectious Diseases, and the South Korea Consulate in Cebu City.