Committed in search for answers and closure for families
I watched the mood on board RSS Persistence as the crew spotted first, debris, and yesterday, a body.
The men of the Singapore Navy told me they were encouraged, because finding the body meant closure for families of the victims of ill-fated AirAsia flight QZ8501.
There was also anxious chatter each time a piece of debris was found. They wanted answers. What is it? Where it is from?
I did not get to see the process of retrieving the body yesterday morning. It was already wrapped up by the time I was allowed access.
I said a little prayer when the body was sent to Pangkalan Bun hours later.
Two hours later, the crew spotted an inflated life raft near where the body was found.
First, five men tried hauling the raft up. But it was so heavy that more men stepped forward to help.
After I got the pictures that I needed and noticed that the men were still struggling, I joined them.
And they let me help.
It took close to 20 people to heave the raft, measuring 3m by 6m, onto the ship.
After spending close to a week on the ship with the crew, I saw how personally involved they are in their recovery mission.
When there is a small window of opportunity to access the Internet, crew members would crowd around a small computer - not to go on Facebook, but to track the updates of the QZ8501 recovery efforts.
I, too, have grown to hope with these guys, and do whatever it takes to help the victims' families find closure.
And I have no doubt that, as the ship's name suggests, the crew will be persistent in their efforts.