ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/30 August) – Task Force 62 of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) has rescued a wooden-hull vessel in distress in the province of Tawi-Tawi, belated reports from the Philippine Navy said.
Commodore Armando Guzman, NFWM commander, said the vessel loaded with 67 people, including the seven crew, was rescued Thursday 4.8 nautical miles off Pagasinan, Simunul, Tawi-Tawi. Of the 60 passengers, 12 were children, he added.
Guzman said M/L Virginia departed Sipangkot Island and bound for Lamion Pier in Bongao, the capital town of Tawi-Tawi, “when it incurred derangement on her main propulsion.”
The NFWM’s Naval Task Force 62, which is based in Panglima Sugala town, upon receiving a distress call from the M/L Virginia, directed the Patrol Ship-19 (PS-19) to conduct search and rescue operation for the distressed vessel amidst rough seas and strong winds prevailing in the area, Guzman said.
Battered by big waves, he said the vessel was listing on its port side while its crew members were “bailing out” water using pails in attempt to trim the vessel when the task force personnel aboard PS-19 arrived.
He added that the hapless passengers, some throwing up over the sides because of the violent rolling and pitching, were anxiously waiting for help.
Interviewed by the PS-19 personnel, M/L Virginia’s crew confirmed that their main engine incurred technical problem and “that they were already more than four hours dead-on-water,” he said.
Guzman said the PS-19 personnel led by Commander Ernesto Baldovino immediately rendered necessary assistance to the vessel. The PS-19 towed M/L Virginia, which arrived safely at Lamion Pier in Bongao. (MindaNews)