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M/V HARITA BAUXITE Sinks Off Northwest Coast of Luzon, Philippines

Panamanian-flagged, 630-foot HARITA BAUXITE sunk on February 17, about twelve miles off of the Bolinao Coast, which is located on the South China Sea side of the main Philippine island, Luzon. While HARITA BAUXITE was en route from Obi, Indonesia, to Ningbo, China, the engine failed. Right now, it's believed that rolling powerless in heavy seas caused her cargo of coal or ore to shift, resulting in HARITA BAUXITE capsizing and sinking in approximately 6,000 feet of water. An oil sheen has been noted in the area, the seas have been too rough, because of a tropical storm, to do anything to contain it.

Ten of the crew were located and rescued from the two life rafts they were in; one of those ten crewmembers died, and two of the nine survivors were apparently injured and taken to the hospital. These nine survivors are reported to be Myanmar nationals. The search for their fourteen missing crewmates was called off on February 19 due to no signs of survival, the passage of time, and continued rough seas, although the Coast Guard has expressed hope that some of them might yet turn up safely. It is thought that at least some of the fourteen missing crewmembers went down with HARITA BAUXITE.

It was the crew of Chinese bulk carrier JIN CHENG who rescued those in the life rafts and notified the Philippine Coast Guard. An investigation and pollution monitoring has begun, and the survivors will be returned to their homelands.

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