25 people rescued from vessel that ran aground in Tawi-Tawi

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/24 October) – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) rescued 25 people from a wooden-hulled vessel that ran aground in Tawi-Tawi, a PCG official disclosed Wednesday.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Calixto Sabela, officer-in-charge of the Coast Guard station in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi said that 20 of the 25 people rescued were passengers while the remaining five were crewmembers.

Sabela said they were aboard M/L Sulna Express that ran aground Saturday in Manalik Channel while traveling from Languyan municipality to the Chinese Pier in Bongao, the provincial capital.

M/L Sulna Express ran aground after strong currents and strong winds pushed it to the shallow waters at Manalik Channel, he said.

The official said the ill-fated watercraft has been grounded and moored at the Chinese Pier after it was found out that it was not authorized to ferry passengers.

He described M/L Sulna Express as a 16-tonner “temper type” wooden-hulled watercraft registered as a cargo ferry.

Wooden-hulled vessels serve as the main mode of transportation in traveling between Tawi-Tawi’s 11 island municipalities.

The M/L Sulna Express will only be allowed to sail again once its owner acquires a permit to ferry passengers and cargo, Sabela said. (MindaNews)