By Jonas Reyes
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Five Filipino fishermen were rescued by the non-commissioned dry cargo ship Wally Schirra while conducting a routine mission in the South China Sea on Monday after the crew spotted a makeshift vessel.
The crew of the USNS Wally Schirra saw five men waving their arms and flashing lights when the ship passed by a makeshift vessel. According to the USNS Wally Schirra Captain Keith Sauls, the Filipino fishermen’s boat sank seven days before they were rescued after a blue marlin punctured their hull.
“The fishermen salvaged what they could from the rapidly sinking boat, removing the outriggers and planks to turn it into a raft with floats and barrels underneath for flotation,” civilian mariner Leon Hadley, the Wally Schirra’s chief mate, said in the statement.
Search-and-rescue team of the USNS Wally Schirra used an inflatable boat to pull the fishermen to safety. “We’re lucky we found them when we did,” said Hadley, who added that the men had no water.
The Wally Schirra later transferred the fishermen to the Philippine Coast Guard in Subic Bay, Philippines, Sauls said in the statement.