THE Philippine Coastguard (PCG) has terminated the search for the eight missing passengers of a wooden-hulled boat that capsized on July 30 near the border of the Philippines and Malaysia.
Captain Joseph Coyme, Coastguard District Southwestern Mindanao commander, has ordered to stop the search and rescue mission effective Tuesday, August 21.
Coyme ordered its seaborne personnel and the BRP-Cape San Agustin (MRRV-4408), involved in the search, to focus and strengthen law enforcement in the country’s southern border.
Lieutenant Commander Noriel Ramos said a maritime casualty investigation team was activated to look into the cause of the July 30 incident since the motorboat was “unregistered” and was used “to cross the border without authority.”
Those missing were among the 16 people, including 10 children, aboard an unnamed wooden-hulled vessel that capsized on July 30 near the Philippine border with Malaysia.
The remains of the eight consisting of one male and seven females were fished out at sea on August 6 near villages of Tongusong and Datu Baguinda Putih in Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi.
The remains, which were already in the advance state of decomposition, were immediately buried.
One of the 16 passengers, Ibrahim Mandul, 38, survived after fishermen plucked him out on August 3 near Talapan Reef in the town of Sitangkai.
Mandul said they sailed to visit the wake of a relative in Sempornah, Sabah when the vessel they were aboard capsized due to strong winds and big waves.