Death toll in Palawan sea mishap climbs to 7

Posted at 06/14/2012 4:06 PM | Updated as of 06/15/2012 3:28 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) –The number of casualties in the sinking of M/V Josille-2 off El Nido, Palawan last Tuesday has risen to 7, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) officials said Thursday.

PCG Commander Reynaldo Pabico said the latest casualty, who remains unidentified, was found near El Nido island.

The other victims were earlier identified as Juanito Tito, Jeccamae Estarija, Pamela Anne Clariza, Nita Huyo, Severino Eliseo and John Aldrin Atienza.

M/V Josille-2 capsized at around 11 p.m. off Pagawanin Island in El Nido.

Based on the list provided by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the bodies of 3 more passengers have yet to be found.

The NDRRMC also reported that the vessel carried at least 61 passengers, of whom 34 were included in the passenger manifest; 13 not included in the manifest; and 14 crew members.

Vessel operator suspended

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) on Thursday announced the suspension of the operator of M/V Josille-2.

MARINA officer-in-charge Nicasio Conti ordered the suspension of the operations of Atienza Shipping Company owned by Silverio Atienza, following the accident.

The suspension means that the shipping company’s remaining vessel, the M/V April Rose, will be barred from sailing.

M/V April Rose is a steel-hulled vessel that travels to and from Manila and Coron, Palawan.

Conti said MARINA will conduct an investigation to determine those responsible for the sea mishap.

"We'll get to the bottom of the incident to ensure that those responsible in the fatal sea accident are penalized, and their certificate of public convenience (CPC) is cancelled in case we prove that violations were committed," Conti said.

MARINA said it also plans to come up with guidelines for seafarers during times when no storm signal is raised but heavy rains are present. -- with reports from Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News; and Ricky Velasco, dzMM