The Philippine Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal headed by Philippine Ambassador to Portugal and PJLI Chairman Philippe Lhuillier visited the 13 Filipino crew members on board the damaged chemical tanker MT Harbour Krystal to provide assistance and counselling.
According to the report of the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Center (MRCC) Lisbon to the Embassy, the 11,262 dwt (dead weight tonnage) Bahamas-flagged chemical tanker owned by Nordic Tankers of Denmark suffered an explosion in the early morning of March 06 in the forward compartment of the ship while it was anchored in the Port of Setubal in Portugal. The explosion caused a huge fire in the ship carrying a cargo of light virgin flammable liquid called Naptha.
The Filipino crew shared their frightening experiences during the incident to Ambassador Lhuillier and narrated how they survived.
The accident which happened 30 miles south of Lisbon as the ship was sailing from Port de Bouc in France to Amsterdam left one Filipino seafarer missing after the blast. Despite extensive search operations conducted by Portuguese maritime and air units, the Filipino seaman remains missing.
Spearheaded by Ambassador Lhuillier, the Embassy team checked on the condition of the crew. Some of them exhibited signs of trauma and complained of not being able to sleep since the incident happened. With the help of Third Secretary and Vice Consul Rogelio Villanueva Jr., the team comforted and assured the survivors that their safety and well-being remains to be the priority of the Philippine Government.
The Embassy team returned to the ship the following day with a Lisbon-based Filipino priest, Rev. Fr. Jovito Osalvo who officiated a mass. Prayers were offered for the crew’s emotional and spiritual healing, especially for the missing Filipino seafarer.
Through the help of the embassy, the Filipino crew were granted shore leave and free transportation on March 10 to attend a mass with the Filipino Community at the Igreja do Corpo Santo in Lisbon. Ambassador Lhuillier assured the Filipino crew that the embassy will continue to look after their welfare in coordination with the ship owner and their manning agency.