By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Some of the family members of the 18 missing crewmen from the sunken M/V Starlite Atlantic joined the search and rescue operations of the Philippine Coast Guard in Batangas on Friday morning, December 30.
Dominador Gomez Jr., father of missing crewman Mark Anthony Gomez, said seven families have joined the Coast Guard in going to four nearby islands to look for the 18 crewmen still unaccounted for.
M/V Starlite Atlantic sank during the onslaught of Typhoon Nina off Tingloy, Batangas on Monday. Fourteen crew men have been rescued, while the body of a female crew was found Monday night by residents of San Isidro, Batangas.
Eleven of the missing were said to be students from the Lyceum International Maritime Academy who were on their on-the-job training.
The Coast Guard, the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Air Force have been conducting search operations since Tuesday.
On Thursday, Navy technical divers went to the coordinates where M/V Starlite Atlantic was reported to have sunk but they failed to find the sunken vessel. Navy patrol crafts 320 and 323 have also conducted sonar scanning to locate the vessel.
PCG officer-in-charge, Commodore Joel Garcia, said it has also sent divers to check if there are crewmen trapped inside the vessel and to determine other factors that may have caused the sinking, and that an aerial search was conducted in coordination with the PCG Auxiliary.
Coast Guard District Southern Tagalog, commander Capt. Julius Caesar Victor Marvin Lim, did not dismiss that some of the missing crewmen were trapped inside the vessel so they had some of their personnel to dive underwater despite not having the capability to do so.