Navy’s MPAC BA492, special operations unit rescue fishermen in Zamboanga

Philippine Navy’s Multi-Purpose Assault Craft (MPAC) Boat Attack (BA) 492 and Naval Special Operations Unit (NAVSOU) 6 rescued five (5) fishermen at vicinity 500 yards SW off San Mateo Point, Sinunuc, Zamboanga City on September 14, 2020.

Naval Forces Western Mindanao photo

On or about 5:07 PM on September 14, 2020, BA492 was enroute to a mission when crew of said vessel noticed four (4) fishermen on a capsized motor banca desperately calling for rescue. Immediately, BA492 proceeded to the capsized banca and upon arrival at the site, BA 492 was informed that the Boat Master is still stuck inside the capsized banca. Upon receiving this information, BA 492 initially secured the banca and accommodated all the distressed crew onboard BA492 and tasked one personnel to gear up to dive and rescue the Boat Master.

Naval Forces Western Mindanao photo

On the other hand, while rescue and assistance was ongoing, Officer in Charge of BA 492, Lieutenant Vincent T Larida PN, informed 4th Boat Attack (BA) Division Commanding Officer, Commander Jasper M. Adrales PN(GSC). Afterwards the latter immediately informed Naval Forces Western Mindanao Operations Center and Naval Installation and Facilities – Western Mindanao for assistance and laterally coordinated with Naval Special Operations Unit 6 (NAVSOU 6) for availability of divers to extract the said Boat Master from the capsized banca.

Upon arrival, divers from NAVSOU 6 conducted retrieval operations and brought the Boat Master onboard BA492. NAVSOU6 personnel conducted Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on the unconscious boat master. BA492, with the rescued fishermen, immediately proceeded back to Ensign Majini Pier (EMP) to bring all the distressed fishermen for proper medical assessment. The Boat Master was still unconscious when Camp Navarro General Hospital (CNGH) ambulance arrived and immediately brought the unconscious to Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC). Upon arrival and assessment thereat, the boat master was declared Dead on Arrival (DOA).

Meanwhile, after the fishermen were brought to safety, BA492 proceeded back to the capsized banca and secure same at Naval Station Romulo Espaldon to ensure safety navigation to any passing vessel/watercraft in the area.

Initial investigation revealed that the fishing banca identified as M/B ELSA 3, with five (5) crew onboard, are from Barangay Dumagoc, Pagadian City. They left Pagadian on August 22, 2020 and conducting fishing operations at Siocon Fishing Grounds. They went to Zamboanga City to intentionally buy ice for their fish catcher but due to unfavorable weather condition, their boat capsized. The 5 fishermen identified as; (1) Enricky Brocka (Deceased), 55 years old and Boat Master, (2) Erickson Broca, 19 years old, (3) Richard Brocka, 30 years old, (4) Oroy Gay, 27 years old and (5) George Alvarasen, 36 years old.

Upon completion of medical assessment, the remaining crew were accommodated at the 4th Boat Attack Division staff house and Civil Military Operations personnel of NFWM provided food and dry clothes to the fishermen. Other arrangements are ongoing for their proper disposition.

The Commander, Naval Forces Western Mindanao, Rear Admiral Erick A Kagaoan PN lauded the prompt assistance rendered by BA492 and NAVSOU6 personnel which showed their competence and utmost dedication to duty in the conduct of rescue and assistance. BA492 and NAVSOU6 are both under operational control of Naval Forces Western Mindanao.

The Philippine Navy through Naval Forces Western Mindanao along with all its units, both the Fleet and the Marines, will continuously be ready to respond in any emergency situation equipped with vigilance and the urgency as well as the technical skills to be of service to fellow Filipinos. Naval Forces Western Mindanao