ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanews/23 February) – Operatives of the Joint Task Group Sulu seized off Sulu on Monday some P104.8 million shipment of imported smuggled rice aboard four vessels, including a Vietnamese-owned ship.
Capt. Ma. Rowena Muyuela, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) information officer, said the troops also confiscated 12 high-powered firearms consisting of seven M-14 rifles and five M-16 Armalite rifles including two with attached M-203 grenade launchers.
Muyuela said the four vessels loaded with 131,000 sacks of 25 kilos each or 3,275 metric tons of imported rice was intercepted around 3:25 a.m. Monday near Pata, one of the island municipalities of Sulu.
Muyuela said that 116,000 of the 131,000 sacks of rice were seized aboard a Vietnamese vessel named M/V An Bien-89-ACLI skippered by Nguyen Van Loi with 16 Vietnamese crewmen.
The remaining 15,000 sacks of imported rice were seized aboard three locally-owned vessels namely as follows: M/L KH with 11 crew members and 79 laborers, 7,000 sacks; M/L Fatima Nurmina with 12 crew members and 55 laborers, 1,000 sacks; and, M/L Boy-I manned by a seven-man crew, 7,000 sacks.
She said one of the seven M-14 rifles and one M-16 rifle with attached M-203 grenade launcher were seized aboard M/L Fatima Nurmina and the remaining six M-14 rifles and four M-16 rifles including one with attached M-203 grenade launchers aboard M/L Boy-I.
She said the Joint Task Group Sulu troops intercepted the four vessels while they were conducting “naval negation and barrier” west of Pata Island.
A locally-based rice trader said the estimated worth of the intercepted rice shipment is P104.8 million at a selling price of P800 each sack. (MindaNews)