A Filipino seaman on board a Taiwanese fishing vessel has gone missing after he was swept overboard into the sea by big waves during a stormy night in the Indian Ocean.

Initial reports reaching the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) identified the missing seafarer as Bernard “Robin” Cayunda, who fell overboard together with another Filipino, last April 26 at around 2 a.m. when rough seas and huge waves rocked fishing vessel Haw Hung No.202 owned by a Taiwanese company.

The family of Cayunda, who was presumed dead, has sought the help of the POEA in locating his body after his colleagues failed to save and recover his body.

Based on reports, the other Filipino seaman who was not identified survived the ordeal.

The local shipping agency TriOceanic Shipping and Manning Agency failed to submit a marine or a police report to the POEA sea-based sector.

It was learned that since April 26, officials of TriOceanic had no answers to the family of Cayunda after they were informed of the accident only last May 4.

Cayunda’s mother, Nelma, 51, said that TriOceanic Shipping only informed them seven days after incident.

POEA Deputy Administrator for the Sea-based sector Yoly Paragua said that TriOceanic Shipping has been ordered to submit an incident or marine report and what measures they have taken to help the family of the missing seaman who boarded the vessel last January 6, 2018.

During last month’s regional fishing seminar of the International Labor Organization (ILO), International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), it was revealed that some Filipino seamen on board fishing vessels were reportedly abused and maltreated.

It said that beneficiaries of Filipino seamen only received between $100 to $150 a month, way below the stipulated salary of $363 due to illegal salary deductions disguised as advances.

Under POEA rules, fishers are considered sea-based workers and as such. they should not pay or be charged with anything, except for what they have advanced to be given to their families as sustenance.

Majority of Filipino seamen on board fishing vessels are also covered only by the mandatory insurance for land-based workers equivalent to US$10,000 to $15,000.

POEA rules, however, require all sea-based workers be covered with a minimum of US$50,000 in insurance benefits.

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