Press Release
November 6, 2020

Senator reveals vessel had history of engine deficiencies

Senator Risa Hontiveros has urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to compel the owners of the ill-fated Gulf Livestock 1 to swiftly facilitate its search for Filipino seafarers-- 36 of whom are still missing. Hontiveros said she is relaying the appeal of the families of the crew members for faster marine salvage operations to recover any remains that may still be within the wreck of the ship.

"I would like to respectfully convey their request that the owner of the vessel - Gulf Navigation Holding - be pressured to expedite marine salvage operations for the purpose of recovering any remains that may still be within the wreck of the ship," Hontiveros said in a letter addressed to DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr.

The Senator also revealed that the Panamanian-registered vessel had logged mechanical defects and operational issues before it went missing in the midst of Typhoon Maysak off the coast of southwest Japan in September: "Gulf Livestock 1 had a noticeable checkered past, with European shipping database Equasis listing 25 port state control deficiencies in 2019 and 2020 alone, including a number related to the main engine."

Hontiveros added, "on July 25, 2020, a Philippine Navy vessel, the Miguel Malvar-class patrol corvette BRP Magat Salamat was even directed to deploy to an area 6.6 nautical miles off Davao Occidental province so that its engineers could assist in repairing the engine of the ill-fated vessel."

Considering the negligence of the ship's owner, Hontiveros stressed that it is only appropriate for Gulf Navigation Holding to be made primarily liable for the expenses of carrying out retrieval operations.

"Kailangang panagutin ang Gulf Navigation Holding sa nangyaring paglubog ng barko nila. May mga naging problema na pala, pinabyahe pa," she said. "Hindi rin dapat payagan na balewalain lang ang mga seafarers na technically ay kanilang mga empleyado."

Hontiveros emphasized the salvage operations will bring peace of mind, as well as closure, to the families of Filipino seafarers who are still missing. " It has been more than two months since the incident happened. Huwag na nating dagdagan pa ang sakit na nararamdaman nila. Patuloy nating kalampagin ang Gulf Navigation Holding na sagutin ang gastos sa salvage operations ng barko. Only then can the families move forward." she concluded.

Last September, Hontiveros had also asked the DFA to call upon the Japanese government to expand its search and rescue efforts for the missing Filipino seafarers who were aboard Gulf Livestock 1.

***Please see attached letter to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr.

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