Authorities are searching for about 30 fishermen who went missing in waters off Catanduanes while tropical storm Ambo (international name: Mawar) was passing by the province Friday afternoon, police said.

The fishermen’s boat, FB Crismar, reportedly experienced engine failure while sailing in waters of Bato and Baras towns, facing the Pacific Ocean, Senior Supt. Lito Pitallano, Catanduanes Provincial Police director, said.

The chairman of Brgy. Batalay, Bato, reported the incident to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) 4 p.m. Friday, an hour after the fishermen were supposed to return, Pitallano said in a phone interview.

“Ang kuwento ng barangay chairman ay May 29 pumalaot ito from Batalay pero bumalik din kasi nasiraan daw makina. May 30 umalis uli after maayos at expected bumalik 3 p.m. ng June 1,” the police official said.

Some of the boat’s crew have been identified as Rodel Mendez, Elmer Pulot, Marcial Todo, Joven Basi, all of Brgy Batalay; Eddie Chavez, and Romulo Misal, both of Brgy. Pananaugan.

The others were identified as Rene Salazar, Ernesto Salazar, Roldan Salazar, Joseph Salazar, Nore Cuna, Timoteo Salazar, a certain “Glenn,” “Tatang,” and “Balong.”

Pitallano said the PDRRMC organized a search shortly after recieving the report, but members of the police, Coast Guard, and other agencies were unable to mount the operation because it was already getting dark and there were big waves. (John Roson)

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