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Panama Cargo Ship Sinks Off Batanes Island
« on: November 11, 2010, 09:31:30 PM »
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has joined search and rescue operations on a Panamanian cargo vessel, with 25 Chinese crews on board, that sank off Itbayat island in Batanes on Wednesday morning.

The Manila-based PCG , citing alert message from Chinese Defense Attache Senior Colonel Chen Fangming, identified the Panamanian cargo vessel as “Masco Diamond,” which was heading towards Indonesia from Lian Yungang, China.

Lieutenant Commander Armando Balilo, PCG spokesman, quoted the alert message as saying that Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) lost contact with the cargo vessel at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The PLA recorded the vessel's last location around 21° North, 123° East of Itbayat, Batanes.

"We hope that the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard can send some ships to search and rescue them," the PCG quoted the message as saying.

PCG has also approved the request of the 11th Regional Japan Coast Guard Operations Center to allow the entry of a Japanese P-3C Orion plane into the Philippine area of responsibility for the aerial search.

It also said that it was continuously monitoring for possible responses in connection with the Notice to Marines it has issued.

The PCG immediately sent vessels BRP EDSA-Dos (SARV-002) and BRP-Nueva Vizcaya (SARV-3502) to conduct SAR operations upon receiving the the alert message.

The Coast Guard Aviation Group (CGAC) also deployed one of its twin engine islander plane (PCG-251) to conduct regular aerial survey in the waters of Batanes.

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