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16 foreign crew of chemical tanker rescued off Ilocos Norte

SIXTEEN foreign crew members of a chemical tanker were rescued after their vessel encountered trouble off Ilocos Norte last Saturday, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday.

The rescued seafarers, composed of 13 Indonesians and three Chinese, are now at the Subic Port in Zambales, the PCG said in a statement.

They are the crew members of the ill-fated MT King Rich, registered under the flag of Sierra Leone.

The PCG said the propeller shaft of MT King Rich broke at 12:52 p.m. last Saturday off Badoc Island in Ilocos Norte, causing seawater to enter the vessel’s engine room.

“The crew ensured their engine and gasoline tank would not leak before abandoning the chemical tanker,” the PCG said.

The PCG said the vessel had no chemical cargo on board at the time of the incident.

The distressed crew members were on a life raft when they were spotted and rescued by crewmen of a transiting Hong Kong-registered container ship, MV Sheng An, at 5:22 p.m., the PCG said.

The PCG said MV Sheng An arrived at the Subic Port at 11 a.m. yesterday with the rescued crew members who are “all in good physical condition.”

The Coast Guard Aviation Force conducted an aerial survey yesterday morning to check on the status of MV Rich King. The vessel was still floating, the PCG said.

“The PCG is also actively coordinating with the concerned shipping company for the towing of MT King Rich,” the PCG also said.

PCG commandant Adm. Ronnie Gil Gavan recognized the “acts of heroism” exhibited by the crewmen of MV Sheng An for the rescue of the 16 seafarers.

“Through the efforts, coordination, and teamwork of MV Sheng An, led by Captain Zhang Xiayo, the crew of MT King Rich were successfully rescued,” said Gavan.

“Imbued with a deep sense of commitment, determination, and selfless act of kindness, the officers and crew of MV Sheng An have shown an exemplary service that is truly worthy of recognition,” added Gavan.