Filipino Crew of MV Merino Express (ex Cormo Express)

Employer: Dolphin Shipmanagement, Inc.
TDG-NYK Harbour Ctr.
Bldg. 1 Chicago Cr 23rd & 24th St.
Port Area, Manila

In a rare display of leadership and dedication, 49 crewmembers of MV Merino Express (ex-Cormo Express; 12,568 gross tonnage livestock vessel), performed an extraordinary feat that others of similar stature would have failed to achieve. Placing duty above personal welfare and interest, the crew, under the command of Capt. Marcial Landero, accomplished the daunting task of protecting and keeping alive some 58,000 heads of Australian sheep from possible harm and extinction after the receiving country, Saudi Arabia, rejected the cargo due to suspicion of a disease outbreak.

From the supposedly 15-day travel, the voyage stretched to an agonizing 86 day, from August 5 to October 30, 2003, putting to test the crew’s resiliency in the high seas.  What followed next was an unforeseen battle against thirst, elements, and the extreme heat and humidity in the Middle East region, as the vessel continued to navigate the waters for a new destination. More than 5,000 sheep died due to heat stress, but the officers and crew remained in control of the situation and spent long hours of cleaning to prevent the animals from sinking to their waste.

Such was their concern for the cargo that despite a depleting supply of fresh water onboard, the crew made sure that the livestock had enough of this precious resource. In the face of a possible crisis, the 8 officers and 41 ratings exhibited utmost professionalism. They kept high the morale onboard, and remained loyal and steadfast to the call of their profession until finally the vessel found Eritrea in Africa willing to take in the cargo. Eritrea allowed 52,000 sheep to be unloaded; with the Eritrean veterinary authorities favorably impressed by the outstanding care and stockmanship of the Filipino crew as shown by the excellent condition of the sheep despite the long journey.

For the exemplary discharge of their duties and for saving the reputation of one of Australia’s biggest industries, the Filipino seafarers were regarded high esteem by the Australian government and its livestock association, as well as the livestock exporting community.

The MV Merino Express Crew:

Capt. Marcial Landero
C/E Nunilo Roldan
C/M Ernesto Esquivias
2/M Sisinio Mahinay
3/M Mar Gonzales
2/E Edmund Tagulao
3/E Emmanuel Antonio
4/E Jhun De Los Reyes
Elect Leovino Carandang
BSN Jose Olegario Jr.
FTR Alan Gaborno
FTR Joselito Tip
AB Ricardo Abareles
AB Nestor Buno
AB Edmo Foronda
AB Nilo Nicor
AB Johnny Vonn Joelito Orquejo
AB Jovito Prestoza
AB Renato Rallos
AB Jose Marie Sebugan
OLR Ronaldo Benavidez
OLR Sonny Boy Iso
OLR Victorio Quirol
OS Chris Abelida
OS Romeo Acut Jr.
OS Pius Agcarao
OS Chou Lai Arapoc
OS Raul Atilano
OS Jose Niño Bado
OS Anthony Café
OS Hose Clemente Caspe
OS Edilberto De Guia
OS Julio Garcia III
OS Dionisio Lejano
OS Rogelio Orpilla
OS George Ortal
OS Alcindo Pañares
OS Erel Pedro
OS Custodio Penado Jr.
OS Anthony Sarcilia
OS/2 Nicomedes Caballero
OS/2 Jose Vicente Catorce
OS/2 Enrico Pasacas
C/CK Pedrito Manzon
2/CK Bernardo Pasia
MSM/1 Johny Jimenez
MSM Jeffry Alolor
MSM Manuel Narvadez Jr.
D/CDT Zaldy Richelle Clementir

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