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PCG commandant meets with families of 14 missing Mindoreno fishermen

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Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commandant, Vice Admiral George V Ursabia Jr has met with the families of the 14 victims of the sea collision at the vicinity waters off Barangay Tayamaan, Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro this morning, July 8.

VADM Ursabia said during the meeting with the families that even though the full search and retrieval operations ended yesterday, personnel of the PCG Station in Occidental Mindoro will continue in actively monitoring the incident area and nearby coastal communities.

VADM Ursabia also assured them that mobile patrol operations along the shoreline of Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro will be sustained to locate the whereabouts of the victims.

The PCG also revealed that aside from filing a criminal complaint for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and damage to property against the owner, master, and officers of the Hong Kong-registered bulk carrier, MV Vienna Wood, they also filed a motion to prevent its crew members from returning to China while the probe is ongoing.

The PCG Commandant guaranteed the families that a hold departure order against MV Vienna Wood will be issued this week to ensure that said bulk carrier will remain under the custody of the Philippines while justice is yet to be served.

VADM Ursabia also refuted the allegation that some of the victims were being kept inside the bulk carrier – the reason why no signs of their lives were found in the vicinity waters.

“Nahalughog po natin ang buong pasilidad ng MV Vienna Wood. Wala pong katotohanan ang mga bali-balita na nasa loob nito ang ilan sa mga mangingisda na biktima ng insidente. Wala rin pong pressure mula sa China na makielam sa kaso. Maliwanag na may full jurisdiction tayo dahil sa karagatan natin nangyari yung insidente,” VADM Ursabia added.

During the meeting, the Irma Fishing and Trading Inc. and the affected families also expressed their intention to file a civil case against MV Vienna Wood.

“Wala pong problema. Tutulong po kami sa inyo sa paghahain ng civil case. Yung criminal case po na inihain namin, pwede niyo pong gamitin sa inyong kaso. Rest assured po na ang Coast Guard, tutulong sa inyo. Alam ko po na masakit talaga ang ganitong sitwasyon. Ipagdasal po natin ito sa Panginoon. Wala pong ibang makakatulong sa atin kundi Diyos lang,” VADM Ursabia exhorted.