5 missing Filipino fishermen rescued off Vietnam

MANILA—The five reported missing Filipino crewmembers of a sunken fishing vessel have been rescued by Vietnamese fishermen, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) announced on Monday.

The fishermen, identified as Regino Suico, Naptalie Surbano, Remy Joy Jiray, Alfredo Mangubat and Diego Abano, were found some 300 nautical miles off the coast of central Binh Dinh province by members of the National Search and Rescue Commission of Vietnam, the PCG said in a statement.

They had been reported missing after their vessel capsized and sank in the South China Sea on January 30, said Lieutenant Commander Armando Balilo, PCG Public Affairs chief and deputy chief of staff for community relations.

Combined air and sea search and rescue mission by the PCG failed to find the Filipinos, said Balilo.

Crewmembers of by Vietnamese fishing vessel PY90441 later found the distressed fishermen.

Le Con, the captain of Vietnamese vessel, provided first aid and transferred them to another vessel that brought the five to the nearest shore, Huynh Van Dinh, deputy chief of staff of the Vietnamese Provincial Coast Guard Force, said in a report.

They are now staying in a hotel in Tuy Hoa City, the capital of central Phu Yen province.

Balilo said the relatives of the rescued fishermen have coordinated with the PCG and sought the assistance of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for their immediate repatriation.

“We’ve already talked to their relatives after hearing the news from our Vietnamese counterpart and we are now seeking the help of DFA for the immediate return of the fishermen,” Balilo said.

The Philippines and Vietnam signed a Memorandum of Agreement on Cooperation in Search and Rescue at Sea during President Benigno Aquino’s state visit in Hanoi last October.

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