MV Harita Bauxite, a Handymax bulk carrier sank recently off Cape Bolinao with the loss of 14 of the 24 crew.
According to the Philippine's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council a distress rocket signal was sighted by the MV Jin Cheng on 18, February, 2013 in the vicinity of Cape Bolinao, Bolinao, Pangasinan. Ten crew members were subsequently rescued by Jin Cheng and later taken to shore by helicopter. Reportedly the Harita Bauxite had sunk following (unspecified) engine trouble.
In response The International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (Intercargo) has now called for an early casualty investigation following the tragic loss of the bulk carrier, and states as follows:
The Panama-registered, 1983-built handymax ship which was reportedly carrying a cargo of nickel ore from Obi, Indonesia to China, sank on the evening of 17 February after suffering engine failure, possibly during poor weather.
Although ten crew were rescued by a passing ship, 14 crew remain unaccounted for.
Secretary General of Intercargo, Rob Lomas said: “At this early stage, we cannot speculate about the cause of this sad incident but, the sudden loss of another bulk carrier in this region underlines the importance for the relevant authorities to quickly conduct their accident investigations so that the dry bulk sector can learn and apply any safety- related lessons from this tragedy, and help in future prevent this unnecessary loss of life”.