Five Filipino seafarers were reported missing in Hawaii after they abandoned their burning ship two weeks ago, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced Monday night.
The DFA said 16 other Filipino seafarers were rescued immediately after the incident on New Year’s Eve.
In a statement, DFA Assistant Secretary Elmer Cato said the DFA is still hopeful that the five missing seafarers could be located safe.
“The DFA remains hopeful that five Filipino seafarers reported missing after abandoning their burning cargo vessel off Hawaii two weeks ago would be found,” said Cato.
The DFA said 21 Filipino crewmembers of the MV Sincerity Ace abandoned the Panamanian-flagged vessel after it caught fire on New Year’s Eve some 1,800 nautical miles northwest of Oahu.
The DFA Office of Migrant Workers Affairs has been informed by the ship’s manning agency that a tugboat and another vessel had been sent to the area to locate the five.
The 16 other Filipino seafarers were rescued by the United States Coast Guard and other passing merchant vessels. Most of them have since returned to the Philippines.
M/V Sincerity Ace was en route to Hawaii from Japan carrying 3,500 brand new vehicles when the fire broke out, forcing the crew to abandon ship.