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1 confirmed dead in RoRo sinking

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) recorded on Tuesday the first casualty from the sunken M/V Starlite Atlantic as the agency continued its search and rescue on the remaining 19 missing crewmen of the roll-on, roll-off vessel.

Raul Belesario, commander of Coast Guard Station Batangas, identified the lone casualty as 21-year-old Lyka Banaynal, who was washed ashore in San Isidro, Batangas.

MV Starlite Atlantic sank off the coast of Tingloy, Batangas at around 10:30 a.m. last December 26. Strong winds and huge waves spawned by Typhoon “Nina” caused the sinking of the vessel.

Officials from PCG and M/V Startlite Atlantic, however, gave conflicting figures on casualties, survivors, and missing from the sunken ro-ro vessel.

In a statement, Starlite Ferries Inc., owner of M/V Starlite, disclosed that “15 crew members have been rescued while 19 are still missing.”

But based on the account of the ship’s operations officer to the PCG, Belesario said the number of crewmen aboard the vessel was initially placed at 22 until survivors corrected the figures.

“The crew list showed 33 crewmen were onboard M/V Starlite,” he said. (Raymund F. Antonio)