A unit under Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Center (Vietnam MRCC) on Saturday interviewed Angentito Rojas,42, who is said to be the chef of Bulk Jupiter, which sank off Vietnam’s southern coast on Friday, by telephone.
Rojas was rescued by Muttrah OLNG tugboat on Friday and was received by SAR 413 early Saturday morning.
The interview was also joined by the crew of SAR 413 ship.
Rojas said he was tired and dizzy, but he could answer the question quite clearly. Accordingly, the owner of Jupiter Bulk is in Norway, and the ship was on its way from Malaysia to Qingdao (China), and was expected to get there on January 1.
Rojas confirmed there were 19 crewmembers on board the missing ship, and all were Filipinos. The incident happened to the ship at about 6:00-7:00 on Friday morning.
When asked for more information related to the accident, Rojas said he did not remember and he was tired, so he wanted to rest.
Despite being explained and convinced that all of the information he supplies will help a great deal in save the remaining missing crewmembers, Rojas refused to continue talking.
Regional coordination sought
The Bureau of Consular Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday sent documents to embassies of the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei to seek for coordination in searching 16 missing crewmembers of Bulk Jupiter, according to the office of the National Committee for Search and Rescue.
On Saturday and Friday, there were eight vessels of Vietnam and regional countries joined the search and rescue operations SAR 413, HQ 608, CSB 4034, Zim Asia, Pan Uno, Kota Nekad, OLNG Muttrah and Sea Land Metetor.
However, by the end of Saturday, the operations yielded no more positive results.
Operating fishing vessels from coastal provinces in central and southern Vietnam, from Khanh Hoa Province to Ca Mau Province, are also required to enhance observation to support those vessels, in the search and rescue of the missing crewmembers.
The cargo ship Bulk Jupiter with an all-Filipino crew on Friday morning capsized and sunk off the Vietnamese coast, according to a press release published by the ocean transport firm owning the vessel on its website, www.gearbulk.com.
“Bulk Jupiter issued distress signals at 22:54 hours UTC on January 1st in position lat 9".01' 01:001N, long 109" 15' 26.01E,” it said.
The Bahamas-flagged ship departed from Kuantan (Malaysia) on December 30 at around 20:00 hours local time and is now confirmed as having “capsized and [sunk] about 150 NM off the Vietnamese coast,” said the press release issued by Gearbulk Holding Limited.
“Repeated attempts to contact the vessel on all communication channels were unsuccessful,” it said.
“The Japanese Coast Guard received the distress alert and immediately initiated search and rescue operation. Lifeboats and life rafts have been observed in and inspected but found empty,” said the the press release.
The tugboat, M/V OLNG Muttrah, has picked up one surviving crew member in the area. In addition, two bodies have been recovered.
The ship was carrying 46,400 metric tons of bauxite in bulk, stowed in all five of its cargo holds, according to the Bermuda-based company which specializes in conventional bulk.
All of the 19 crew members on board the ship come from the Philippines, according to a crew list obtained by Tuoi Tre News.
Vietnamese rescue force received SOS messages from the vessel at 7:00 am on Friday, when it was about 150 nautical miles off the southern Vietnamese city of Vung Tau, the Vietnam MRCC said.
After receiving the emergency signals, the Vietnam MRCC issued a maritime notice asking for help from vessels nearby and sent the SAR 413 to the scene to begin rescue activities, which were later joined by the above foreign ships.
The Vietnam National Committee for Search and Rescue said it has proposed that the Defense Ministry dispatch the HQ608 – a naval ship – to the site to support the SAR 413 in the ongoing search.
Meanwhile, the Vietnam MRCC said on Friday night that the owner of the Bulk Jupiter will send a representative from Singapore to Vietnam to coordinate with it in the ongoing search efforts.