Twenty-one Filipino seafarers were rescued by a Chinese-owned vessel along the Vitiaz Strait in Northern New Guinea last month after the Philippine vessel – MV Foxhound – sank due to bad weather.
The Chinese-owned UK-registered vessel MV COSCO came to the rescue of the Pinoys just in time to retrieve all them as they struggled in their lifeboat on the high seas on October 17.
The captain of the MV Foxhound Captain Jonathan Montel had sent a distress signal as their vessel began to sink.
The Pinoy seafarers were brought to Port Botany in Sydney five days later where they were met onboard by Consul Marford Angeles and Assistance-to-Nationals officer Erlinda Albay of the Philippine Consulate General in Sydney.
In coordination with HWL Ebsworths, the insurance agent in Sydney of MV Foxhound, the Consulate made arrangements for a team of Filipino-Australian doctors and a psychologist to conduct medical and psychological examination of the 21 Filipino seafarers.
Consul Angeles conveyed to Captain Shen Xiao Xing, Master of MV COSCO Shanghai the Consulate General’s appreciation and gratitude for his action which resulted int the safety and well-being of the Filipino seafarers.
Captain Shen graciously responded by saying that he just did his duty to save lives at sea.
According to Captain Montel, all his crew members’ needs were attended to by Captain Shen and his crew, who treated them with kindness. Captain Montel related that Captain Shen even asked them if the food given to them onboard his ship was to their liking as he wanted to ensure that they were satisfied and comfortable.
The team of Filipino-Australian doctors and psychologist that assessed the Filipino seamen onboard MV COSCO Shanghai comprised Dr. Corazon Francisco, Dr. Teofista de Vera, Dr. Roger Fabian, and Ms. Fe Limjap. The team also extended financial assistance to the Filpino seafarers.
HWL Ebsworth made arrangements for the return flight of the seafarers to the Philippines on October 24.
The Consulate coordinated with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Canberra on assistance to the 21 Filipino seafarers upon their arrival in Manila. Prior to their departure, Captain Montel conveyed to Philippine Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis his thanks for the assistance provided to him and the members of his crew during their transit in Sydney. [Philippine Consulate General Sydney: philippineconsulate.com.au]