Tugboat owner to salvage sunken ship

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THE owner of a tugboat that sank in waters off Barangay Tayud, Consolacion, Cebu during the onslaught of Typhoon Odette (Rai) Thursday night, Dec. 16, 2021 plans to recover the sunken ship to retrieve the bodies of remaining crew members stuck in the vessel.

Captain Alvin Dagalea, commander of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Cebu, said on Thursday, Dec. 30 that the owner of mv Ida plans to hire a private firm that will conduct the salvage operation, a process of recovering a ship and its cargo after a shipwreck or other maritime casualty.

Dagalea said during his talk with the owner on Dec. 28, the latter said he would look for an accredited salvor, a person or entity engaged in the business of salvaging vessels.

Salvaging mv Ida will involve pulling the vessel from the seabed and possibly refloating it.

Three of the six crew members of mv Ida have been retrieved from the tugboat. They are Captain Luisito Roble, chief engineer Arthur Saavedra and crew member Roniel Fernandez.

The three remaining crew members have been stuck in the tugboat’s pilothouse, the room from which the tugboat can be commanded, for 14 days already.

Dagalea said divers from the PCG have had a hard time recovering the three remaining crew members because the bridge is buried in the muddy seabed, which is 15 to 20 meters from the surface of the water.

“The mud is really thick,” he said in Cebuano in a phone interview.

The PCG official said mv Ida sank in a vertical position.

During low tide, only a portion of the marine vessel’s rear is visible.

Mv Ida was taking shelter in the anchorage area in the Tayud waters when Typhoon Odette sank it.

As to the other ill-fated boat, mv Tug Strong Trinity, Dagalea said there is no progress yet on the efforts to find it.

Both the tugboat and its 11 crew members have been missing since Dec. 17.

An earlier report said the boat’s owner conducted an aerial survey above the coast of Naga, San Fernando, Carcar and to the adjacent part of Bohol Island. The search found an oil spill near the boat’s last location.

On Dec. 27, PCG divers and the missing crew members’ relatives aboard mv Tug Strong Desire started their search in the Naga sea area. But the search remained futile.

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