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11 bodies recovered in Korea fishing ship sinking

The Philippine Star

SEOUL – Fishermen recovered 11 more bodies from the western Bering Sea yesterday near where a South Korean fishing ship sank earlier this week.

The bodies appear to be from the ship lost Monday in the waters near Russia, according to an official from the foreign ministry who didn’t want to be named, citing office rules. One fisherman’s body was recovered Monday and seven fishermen were rescued. More than 50, including 10 Filipinos, went missing when the ship sank on Monday. Eight had been initially rescued, among them three Filipinos identified as Rowell Aljecera. Micol Sabay, and Teddy Parangue Jr..

The bodies were found by fishing vessels searching the debris of the sunken Oriong-501, said the ministry official.

Furious relatives have blamed the company and the ship’s captain for not doing enough to save their family members.

Rough seas and bad weather mean there is little hope that anyone will be found alive.

Coast guard helicopters from Russia and the United States and at least five fishing ships were searching for the missing, according to an official from Seoul’s foreign ministry. The US rescue ship Munro should arrive Thursday to help the search effort.

The crew also included 35 Indonesians, 11 South Koreans and one Russian fisheries inspector, according to the South Korean government.

It’s believed the ship began to list after stormy weather caused seawater to flood its storage areas, according to officials from the government and the company that owns the ship.

The ship left South Korea on July 10 to catch pollock, a winter delicacy in South Korea, according to company officials.

The sinking struck a nerve in a country less than eight months from its deadliest maritime disaster in decades. The sinking of the Sewol ferry off South Korea’s southwestern coast in April left more than 300 passengers dead, mostly teenagers on a school trip, causing nationwide grief and fury.

A US coast guard plane was already on the scene in the Bering Sea and a US vessel specializing in search and rescue operations was due to arrive early Thursday, a ministry official told AFP.

They will join five ships that have been searching the area since the 1,753-ton trawler went down in rough seas on Monday morning.

The discovery of four empty, damaged lifeboats has fueled concerns that the missing crewmembers were pitched into the icy waters when the boat sank.

The body of one Korean has been recovered, while the Russian inspector and six foreign crewmembers were rescued.

Rescuers also saw one dead body floating in the area but were not able to recover it due to storm conditions, according to Oleg Karev of the marine rescue center in the port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, which is participating in the rescue mission. – AP,Pia Lee-Brago

BERING SEA

MICOL SABAY

OLEG KAREV

PIA LEE-BRAGO

ROWELL ALJECERA

RUSSIA AND THE UNITED STATES

SHIP

SOUTH KOREA

SOUTH KOREAN

SOUTH KOREANS

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