MANILA -- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday said it will assist the families of the five Filipino nationals who were among the 39 crew members of a Chinese fishing vessel that capsized in the Indian Ocean on May 16.
In a statement, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza confirmed that “several bodies” have been recovered by search and rescue teams but their nationalities “remain unidentified.”
The DFA did not provide a specific number, but latest report from state-run Xinhua said seven bodies have so far been retrieved as of May 23.
Citing an initial report from China's Ministry of Transport, Xinhua on the same day reported that “no survivors were found in a weeklong search” for the 39 crew aboard the Lupeng Yuanyu 028.
“(The) DFA OMWA (Office of Migrant Workers Affairs) is monitoring developments on the case and is coordinating with the DMW (Department of Migrant Workers) on the repatriation/shipment of the remains of the five Filipino crew members as well as benefits due their families,” Daza said.
A total of 12 vessels and six aircrafts from Australia, China, India, Sri Lanka participated in the search and rescue (SAR) operations in the central Indian Ocean.
By May 23, said efforts shifted to search and recovery operations given the length of time from the capsizing of the vessel.
Besides the five Filipinos, the vessel also had 17 Chinese and 17 Indonesian crew members when it sank. (PNA)