29 days after Typhoon Odette: M/V Tug Trinity Strong, 12 crew members still missing

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TWENTY-NINE days after the onslaught of Typhoon Odette (Rai), there are still no traces of M/V Tug Strong Trinity after it went missing along with its 12 crew members in the waters off Talisay City, Cebu.

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Cebu Commander Captain Alvin Dagalea said on Friday, January 14, 2022, the Philippine Navy had already used its sonar to detect the sea vessel, but it failed to locate the tugboat owned by Key West Shipping Line Corp.

The PCG Cebu, however, is not yet abandoning its search for Tug Strong Trinity.

"We are still hoping that we can locate it," Dagalea told SunStar Cebu.

M/V Tug Trinity Strong was among four missing sea vessels in Central Visayas as of January 14.

The PCG Central Visayas reported Friday that 181 ships ran aground, 19 sank and eight capsized after the onslaught of Typhoon Odette.

It also recorded eight casualties and 21 missing persons.

M/V Ida

As to tugboat mv Ida that sank in the waters off Barangay Tayud, Consolacion in northern Cebu, the number of missing crew members has dwindled to 3, after one crew member was found on the shores in one of the two islands off Getafe and Buenavista in Bohol.

PCG Bohol Commander Ensign Edzel Gonzaga identified the crew member as Ronel Odal Fernandez, who was 25 and hailed from Talisay City, Cebu.

The PCG Cebu in previous reports had identified one of the missing crew members as Roniel Saavedra. Gonzaga said the management of Unlink Shipping, owner of M/V Ida, said Ronel Fernandez is the name of one of the missing crew members.

Fernandez was found by residents between December 21 and 23, 2021.

The remaining missing mv Ida crew members are Richard Marilao, chief mate; Artemio Bondaog, oiler; and Rolly Cornejos, crane operator.

M/V St. Padre Pio

In the same period, a missing crew member of Medallion Shipping's M/V St. Padre Pio was also found by residents along shores in one of the two islands off Getafe and Buenavista in Bohol. Getafe and Buenavista are neighboring municipalities in western side of Bohol.

Gonzaga identified the crew member as Armando Rubio, who was 26 and a native of Bien Unido, Bohol.

Rubio was among the 14 crew members who had to abandon ship during Typhoon Odette's onslaught. Only eight crew members were able to survive by swimming to shore with their life jackets on.

As of 10 a.m. Friday, January 14, five crew members were still missing.

M/V St. Padre Pio, a cargo ship, came from Naga City, Cebu before Typhoon Odette hit Central Visayas on Thursday evening, December 26, 2021. It was transporting around 28,000 sacks of cement to Mindanao when it took anchor in waters off Getafe, joining more or less 50 sea vessels to take shelter from the oncoming storm.

When Typhoon Odette came, M/V St. Padre Pio was the only ship that sank. Other sea vessels were either capsized or ran aground.

Gonzaga said around 40 sea vessels still have to be retrieved by their companies from the area.

Medallion Shipping still has to retrieve M/V St. Padre Pio.

Telco signal woes

Gonzaga said residents of the islands where the bodies of Fernandez and Rubio were found brought their remains to a funeral home in Getafe in mainland Bohol.

The PCG official said the discovery of the two bodies were only reported to them last January 7. This is due to poor telecommunication and internet signals in the area.

Some residents of Getafe get a clear cellphone signal if they go over to Buenavista, said Gonzaga.

Relatives of Rubio and Fernandez claimed their bodies on January 8 and 10, respectively.

Lite Ferry 10 captain

Last month, the son of Raul Mission, the captain of M/V Lite Ferry 10 who went missing after the ship capsized in the waters off Loon, Bohol, posted on Facebook that his father was the only missing person of the ship's 27 crew members.

Gonzaga said Mission's body was found along the shores in one of the coastal barangays of Loon days after Typhoon Odette.

Mission was reportedly separated from the rest of the crew when he decided to abandon ship, said Gonzaga. (KAL)

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