By Maricar M. Calubiran
Presidential Assistant for Panay and Guimaras Raul Banias said the Philippine Navy and the DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI) are currently conducting search operation to locate M/V Lake Paoay after it capsized in the waters of Carles when Typhoon Frank hit Iloilo.
Banias said DMCI is exerting efforts to locate the sunken vessel being the one that chartered the cargo vessel. The cargo ship was chartered by the DMCI to transport coal from Semirara Island to Toledo in Cebu for its coal-fired power plant. The cargo ship left Semirara night of June 19.
DMCI has been chartering the service of Lake Paoay to ferry coal from Semirara to different point of destinations for almost 10 years. The cargo ship has a capacity of 500,000 tons. The DMCI has an emergency order of coal for the power plant in Cebu when the sea vessel went to Antique.
Banias did not elaborate on the manner of the search operation being undertaken in the town of Carles. Carles is 147.6 kilometers north of Iloilo. It is a coastal town with 33 barangays including island-barangays. The town has rich fishing grounds.
Banias said apart from the search operation effort, the DMCI assured the families of the fatalities of a financial assistance. He did not say on how much each family will receive as cash assistance. The cargo ship has some 24 crews.
Some of the bodies of the crews of MV Lake Paoay were recovered in the Masbate. It was not immediately known on how many of the crews were found dead.