A bulker sailing in the northern part of the Philippines bound for Singapore requested assistance from the Philippine Coast Guard late on Friday, December 8, after three crewmembers were discovered unconscious. The three crewmembers were later pronounced deceased likely having breathed in toxic fumes or from asphyxia.
The circumstances of the tragic accident are not entirely clear but again highlight the danger of entering closed tanks or holds on a cargo ship.
According to the media reports from the Philippines, the captain of the Marshall Island-registered dry bulk carrier Blue Cecil radioed for assistance after three crewmembers were found unconscious.
The 32,564 dwt bulker was on the return leg of a trip that had taken it to the United States in October. Its last port was Portland, Oregon on November 13. It is unclear if the vessel was loaded during this trip.
The Blue Cecil was sailing approximately 150 nautical miles northwest of Bolinao, and a Coast Guard vessel was dispatched to assist. However, before they could reach the ship, the captain reported that the vessel’s duty doctor had pronounced the three crewmembers as deceased. It is believed they had entered one of the vessel’s cargo holds and were found unconscious by other crewmembers.
The vessel diverted to Manila where it remains at anchor. A Coast Guard cutter met the vessel and transported the bodies to shore. They are reporting that the shipping company has already made arrangements for the three individuals.
The Philippines authorities were reported to be investigating the circumstances of the crewmembers’ death.