ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/20 Sept) – Seven people perished while five remain missing when a wooden-hulled boat sunk Wednesday afternoon off Tawi-tawi, officials disclosed Thursday.
Fifteen of the 27 people on board (including the boat’s crew) survived the sea mishap that also claimed the lives of three children, two of them aged four and the third only a year old.
Senior Supt. Rodelio Jocson, Tawi-tawi police director, disclosed that the ill-fated passenger-cargo boat M/L Siraina sunk off Barangay Bakong in Simunul municipality around 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Jocson said that M/L Siraina sunk after it was battered by big waves and strong winds spawned by southwest monsoon while en route to the capital town of Bongao coming from Sitangkai, the province’s farthest municipality.
Southwestern Mindanao Coastguard District spokesman Lieutenant Commander (LCdr.) Elizer Dalnay said search and rescue operations continue to locate the five people reported missing.
He identified one of the five missing as Alnaliza Hamsiri Sahidjuan.
The search and rescue operation is jointly being conducted by Coastguard and Navy personnel based in the province of Tawi-Tawi, said Dalnay, who is also the commander of the Zamboanga Coast Guard Station.
Five of the seven fatalities were identified as Tita Uyo, 1; Ping Uyo, 4; Albuya Uyo, 40; Ridjiki Jam Basira, 54; and, a certain Tutu, 4. The two others who remained unidentified are both female and were believed to be around 30 years old.
The survivors were Ayob Abdulhadi, 35; Benhar Abdulmanan, 21; Rizal Abdulmanan, 21; Baniza Adjung, 9 months old; Imam Muallan Adjung, 60; Malin Adjung, 40; Bakki Munib, 48; Dading Jani, 39; Julsani Julkipli, 15; Aldin Munib, 14; Alvin Munib, 20; Arnel Munib, 17; Dasri Badday, 17; Sharifa Barahim, 17; and Nurjiya Isdali, 17.
Dalnay said that appropriate charges will be filed against Bakki Munib, the owner the vessel, for operating an unregistered boat and illegal carriage of passengers. Munib, a resident of Bongao municipality, is also the skipper of the boat.
Lieutenant Laberny Ikan, Bongao Coastguard Station Commander, said M/L Siraina has been operating as a passenger-cargo vessel servicing the Bongao-Sitangkai route and vice-versa.
Wooden-hulled vessels serve as the main mode of transportation when moving around Tawi-tawi’s various islands. (MindaNews)