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Worker remains missing after MV Titan Fire


A worker remains missing after a fire broke out on the MV Titan at the Delpan Pier in Manila over the weekend.

Identified as Juan Edmund Palanca, the worker was accompanied by his wife Maria Victoria Palanca on Saturday, June 12.  Juan Edmund was supposed to help ship crude to Coron, Palawan.

The couple arrived at the Delpan Pier at 7 a.m. on Saturday and were supposed to transfer the crude into drums that would then be shipped on the MV Titan.

Maria Victoria said they were unable to proceed even after an hour as welding activities were being conducted within the area.

"Sabi ko sa mister ko, 'Bakit ang tagal na magumpisa? Mag-drumming?' Sabi niya 'Kasi nagwe-welding pa sila,' sabi ko 'Diba delikado 'yan kasi nandiyan puro krudo tsaka gasolina ang karga?' Tapos sabi ng mister ko 'Ewan ko sa kanila'," she said in a report on GMA's "24 Oras Weekend" on Sunday.

(I asked my husband why it was taking so long to start the drumming. He said that they were still welding. I asked whether this was dangerous as there was so much crude oil and gasoline onboard. He said that he had no idea what they were up to.)

She said her husband Juan Edmund boarded the MV Titan to check on the drums when there was an explosion and fire broke out on the vessel. That was the last time he was seen.

The Palanca family has since searched at nearby hospitals but failed to find him. They are now appealing to the public to forward any leads.

"Kung sino man nakakakita sa mister ko, ipagbigay sa amin kasi dalawang araw na kaming naghahanap sa kanya. Masakit pa ito, sa dagat hindi siya makita. Wala doon," said Maria Victoria.

[Whoever has seen my husband please let us know. We have been searching for him for two days now. What hurts is that even in the sea he is nowhere to be found.]

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said it is investigating the matter. Initial findings show that the fire spread into the sea as combustible materials floated on the water and caught on fire.

"So 'yung mga content nito na allegedly ay krudo and ang sabi ng ibang mga na-interview doon mantika daw, is tumapon doon sa ilog natin and dahil nga hindi siya nag-submerge, nandoon lang siya sa ibabaw ng tubig then 'yung mga content ng mga drums natin, 'yun 'yung nakita natin sa mga video na sumasabog," Fire Inspector Cid Vincent Manaig said.

[The contents of the drums -- allegedly crude and oil -- spilled into the river and because they did not submerge, they remained on the surface. The contents were what we saw exploding in the videos.]

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard said it is monitoring the area for oil sheen.

"When we say oil sheen, these are the very thin traces of oil on the surface. Yesterday and also a while ago, our forces who were there at the site reported that this sheen was observed to easily dissipate under the heat of the sun," Read Admiral Rolando Punzalan Jr. said in a mix of English and Filipino.

An estimated 100 houses were hit by the fire, leaving at least 10 individuals injured, six of whom are recovering at the hospital.

GMA News is still trying to reach out to the owner of the vessel. Jon Viktor Cabuenas/DVM, GMA News

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