Bodies of 3 seafarers missing after 'Odette' recovered

·4 min read

THE bodies of three more seafarers who went missing after the onslaught of Typhoon Odette were recovered in separate search and retrieval operations in Cebu and other parts of Central Visayas.

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Cebu commander Capt. Alvin Dagalea told SunStar Cebu on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, that they were able to recover the bodies of Ronel Odal Fernandez, 25, a crew member of M/V IDA that sank off in Barangay Tayud, Consolacion in northern Cebu; and Armando Rubio, 26, a crew member of Medallion Shipping's M/V St. Padre Pio which was caught in the typhoon's wrath while anchoring in Getafe, Bohol; and Raul Mission, the captain of MV Lite Ferry 10 who went missing after the ship capsized in the waters off Loon, Bohol.

With the recovery of Rubio, Mission and Fernandez's bodies, the PCG's casualty count has risen to eight with 21 other seafarers still unaccounted for.

Aside from the three, five other seafarers namely Leonardo Martorillas, Chief Engineers Abraham Dalumpines and Arthur Saavedra, tugboat master Luciano Roble, and ordinary seaman Ricardo Payot.

In an interview, PCG Bohol commander Ensign Edzel Gonzaga told SunStar Cebu that Fernandez's body was found by residents living in a island situated between Getafe and Buenavista in Bohol between December 21 and 23, 2021.

But while Fernandez's body has been accounted for, three other missing crew members of MV Ida remained missing namely Richard Marilao, chief mate; Artemio Bondaog, oiler; and Rolly Cornejos, crane operator.

As for Rubio, Gonzaga said they recovered his body in one of two islands off Getafe and Buenavista.

Rubio, a native of Bien Unido, Bohol, was among the 14 crew members of MV St. Padre Pio 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 16, 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.

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.

As to Mission, Gonzaga said they found the skipper's body off the coast of Loon days after Typhoon Odette.

Mission's disappearance came to light after his son posted on Facebook that he was the only one out of his 27 crew members to have went missing when the typhoon struck.

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

Aside from their ongoing search and retrieval operations on the missing seafarers, Dagalea said they are also in the process of looking for ships that were unaccounted for after the typhoon.

Dagalea said as of Friday, their search for M/V Tug Strong Trinity is still ongoing.

The ship went missing along with its 12 crew members in the waters off Talisay City, Cebu.

Dagalea said 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.

In a separate development, the wife of 3rd engineer Fritz Gerald Torres, 28, one of the missing crewmembers of M/V Strong Trinity, expressed disappoinment against Key West Shipping Lines Corp. for being insincere in their search for the missing crewmen.

Flora Mae, Torres' wife, said that the company also ignored their request for a temporary shelter for the families of the victims from Mindanao who went to Cebu while waiting for news about their missing relatives.

"Giingnan rami sa text dili sila ka provide kay tungod nakahatag na ang kompanya ug 10 mil pesos nga financial asisutance (They just texted us that they could not provide since the company had already given P10,000 financial assistance)," she said.

Though she considered her husband dead, Flora Mae said she wanted him found so he could be given a proper burial.

Flora Mae said the last time she heard of her husband was at 8:40 p.m. on December 16 when her husband informed her through Facebook that they were already experiencing difficulties due to the bad weather.

The newlywed couple has no child yet.

Superbalita Cebu tried to contact the company to get their reaction about the matter but they did not answer. (KAL, BBT / TBT)

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