By NITZ ARANCON
THE Coast Guard has launched a search for seafarer who mysteriously went missing while the vessel he serves as a crew member reached the waters off Laguindingan town in Misamis Oriental from Brazil on Tuesday.
Coast Guard district station commander Ferdinand Montermoso yesterday confirmed that seaman 33-year-old Dominador Fuentes of Zone 2, Bugo, this city, was reported missing by the ship’s captain at around 4 pm on Tuesday while the vessel was eight nautical miles from Laguindingan town.
Montermoso said the Coast Guard started combing the shorelines of western parts of Misamis Oriental in the hope of finding Fuentes.
He said the Coast Guard has also informed local governments so they could help in the ongoing search.
“We have coordinated with the local government units as we conduct shoreline foot patrols,” Montermoso said.
The Coast Guard said it was Grande Progreso ship captain Benedict Goecolango who reported the mysterious disappearance of Fuentes to the port state control officer in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.
Montermoso said Fuentes’s wife Marites has been informed about the missing report.
He said the matter has been brought to the attention of the Coast Guard national headquarters in Manila.
Montermoso said Fuentes’s disappearance has remained a mystery, and authorities have yet to start an investigation.
The Coast Guard, he said, would base its actions on the official report of the shipping company.
“Naghulat pa kami sa ilang report sa shipping agency to find out unsa gyud ang hinongdan nga na-missing,” said Montermoso.
He said members of the Coast Guard cannot just go on board any foreign vessel unless it reaches the shoreline.
Petty Officer 2 Wyndel Romulo, master-at-arms of the Coast Guard district office in Misamis Oriental, said the vessel is scheduled to dock at the port of the Philippine Sinter Corp. in Villanueva town on Jan. 23.
Fuentes’s wife Marites Fuentes she was informed about her husband’s disappearance by Goecolango at around 5:50 pm on Tuesday, about two hours after they talked on the phone.
Ms. Fuentes said she and her husband talked from 3 pm up to 3:36 pm.
“Ingon pa siya, ‘I love you, sige na kay mag-duty nako,’” she narrated.
Ms. Fuentes said she repeatedly called him up after being told by the ship captain but his mobile phone just kept on ringing.
“Pirme lang gaing, walay motubag. Morag ang iyang cellphone iya tingaling gibilin sa iyang cabin,” she said.
Ms. Fuentes said she continued to call until 10 pm, the same day, when her husband’s mobile phone was already “out of coverage area.”
She said, “Basin na-lowbat nato sa sigig ring.”
Fuentes’s wife appealed to Misamis Oriental officials and residents to help her find her husband. She said they have a three-year-old child.