Navy joins search ops for 7 missing fishermen in Pangasinan

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union — The Naval Forces Northern Luzon (NFNL) has joined the operation in searching for the seven fishermen reported missing in the waters off Pangasinan since Tuesday last week.

In a statement on Wednesday, NFNL commander Commodore Caesar Bernard Valencia, also head of Task Force (TF) Karagatan, said he has ordered the dispatch of all available naval and air assets and personnel nearest to the area to conduct search and rescue operation and maritime aerial surveillance since January 17.

Valencia also ordered the members of TF Karagatan to give all assistance to locate the missing boat and the crew.

“We will not stop giving assistance, sending our naval assets to locate the missing fishermen,” he said.

Two navy ships, the PC388 and PB322 station at Sual fish port in Sual, Pangasinan, were deployed from the coast of Pangasinan to Ilocos Sur.

The operation, together with the Philippine National Police Maritime Region 1 (Ilocos), Philippine Coast Guard Northern Luzon, and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region 1, was terminated 7 p.m. Tuesday due to unfavorable sea condition.

“The operation was also temporarily stopped for the safety of the searching team but it will continue if the sea condition will be favorable again,” he added.

Initial reports disclosed that the missing fishermen were aboard fishing vessel Narem 2 when it ventured out to sea on Jan. 6. However, they failed to come back in Infanta, Pangasinan on their return date in Jan. 14, as reported by the owner of the fishing banca, Christine Macaraig.

The boat’s crew members are identified as Captain Alberto Roldan, Roderick Montemayor, Homar Maglantay, Ejay Dela Cruz, Jerome Maglantay, Larry Legaspi, and Jefferson Bernabe.

Macaraig claimed she was able to reach FB Narem 2 through radio communication last Jan. 13. She was informed that the crew encountered big waves. However, she has not been able to receive any further information on their situation and whereabouts since then.

The boat’s last reported location was at 60 nautical miles off Camaso Island in Dasol, Pangasinan.

NFNL also coordinated with local fishermen in the area to report immediately to local authorities if they locate signs of the missing fishermen.  Hilda Austria /PNA –