The boat's 14-man crew (all Filipinos) were reported missing on the evening of June 29. Search for the boat by the company commenced when the boat missed its scheduled radio call to port. It was expected to arrive at the Navotas Fish Port at around 7:00 am but it never arrived there.
Other boats by Irma Fishing and Trading rushed to the last reported location of the Liberty Cinco at Cape Calavite. There they were informed by other fishermen about the collision. Items from the boat such as tubs marked "Irma" were found floating in the vicinity.
The capsized hull of the boat was found at around 10:00 am. There were no signs of the 14 Filipinos aboard the boat. The 14 passengers were composed of 12 fishermen and 2 employees of the company.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) was informed of the incident. The PCG located and boarded the Chinese cargo vessel in the afternoon. The Chinese crew said they didn't know of any collision or of the Filipino fishing boat and its crew.
PCG divers arrived at the collision site to inspect the capsized boat at around 4:00 pm. The crew was nowhere to be found. They noticed major damage in the boat. The middle section of the boat's hull was badly damaged and it was caved in.
The PCG noticed some damage in the prow of the Chinese ship. The prow is the portion of a ship's bow above water.
The PCG divers at the collision site were called off at around 5:30 pm because it was getting dark. It was to continue the next morning. Boats by the company remained at the site to keep a lookout for the missing fishermen.