Ship with all-Pinoy crew sinks off Vietnam
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - January 4, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A cargo ship bound for China from Malaysia sank off Vietnam with all but one of its 19 all-Filipino crew still unaccounted for, the vessel’s owner confirmed yesterday.

In a statement posted on its website, Gearbulk Holding Limited said Bulk Jupiter “capsized and sank” some 150 nautical miles off the Vietnamese coast while en route to an undisclosed destination in China from Kuantan, Malaysia.

Gearbulk did not mention the actual date or the circumstances behind the sinking of Bulk Jupiter, which was carrying bauxite. The ship was believed to have sunk Friday.

Gearbulk said the Bahamas-flagged ship departed Kuantan, Malaysia on Dec. 30 at around 8 p.m. local time.

“Repeated attempts to contact the vessel on all communication channels were unsuccessful,” Gearbulk said.

It said the Japanese Coast Guard received distress alert from the ship and immediately initiated search and rescue operation.

Tugboat M/V OLNG Muttrah rescued a survivor, reportedly the cook of the ill-fated vessel. The name of the rescued crew was not yet available as of press time.

Another ship, M/V Zim Asia, reported seeing an empty lifeboat and a life raft from Bulk Jupiter in the waters near Vietnam.

Gearbulk said search and rescue operations, led by Singapore MRCC, were ongoing.

“We will use this opportunity to thank everyone involved for their help and support in this difficult situation. Our thoughts are with the crew and their families,” Gearbulk said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the Philippine embassy in Hanoi is coordinating with Vietnamese authorities for the gathering of more information about the sinking of Bulk Jupiter.

“As always, we stand ready to extend all necessary and appropriate assistance to the ship’s Filipino crew members and their families,” Foreign Affairs spokesman, Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said in a text message to reporters.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CHARLES JOSE BULK JUPITER DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS FOREIGN AFFAIRS GEARBULK GEARBULK HOLDING LIMITED JAPANESE COAST GUARD KUANTAN TUGBOAT M V ZIM ASIA
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