Filipino coaster Sea Merchant sank off Luzon, 9 missing

Filipino general cargo vessel Sea Merchant sank on Jan 1 some 5 miles off coast of Lobo Batangas, southern tip of Luzon Island, Philippines. Vessel, loaded with cement bags, ran into choppy waters and suffered cargo shift, which caused list and finally, capsizing. Vessel issued distress signal at 1600 LT and sank in just few minutes. Of 20 crew 11 managed to get on life raft and were rescued by passing tanker Mactan Island, 9 went missing, search under way.
General cargo vessel Sea Merchant, IMO 8221131, dwt 300, built 1982, flag Philippines, manager FORTUNE SEA CARRIER INC, Manila.

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