Alert vessel crew foils piracy attempt

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/10 October)— Crew members of a cargo ship prevented what could have been an act of piracy and kidnapping by locking themselves in their rooms as instructed by their captain, a Coast Guard official said.

Sarangani Coast Guard station Chief Lt. George Maganto , said eight pirates on two motorized boats boarded the tanker, M/V Cecilia V, near Olanivan Island in Davao Occidental Saturday morning.

Sensing danger upon seeing the pirates who were about to board the ship, M/V Cecilia V skipper Elvy Lim immediately ordered his 20 crewmen to lock themselves in their rooms.

Maganto said Elim also ordered the crew to close all hatches to prevent the pirates from entering the bridge and the rest of the ship.

“The pirates spent more than 20 minutes walking around the ship but they were not able to enter the rest of the ship. They left after they probably tired out,” Maganto said.

He said Elim also called to inform the Coast Guard that armed pirates were about to board their ship.

Maganto said Coast Guard personnel from their station in Malabinuang in Jose Abad Santos town in Davao Occidental responded to the distress call and arrived 30 minutes after but found the pirates already gone.

He said M/V Cecilia V continued their voyage and is now safely anchored in Barangay Bula, General Santos City.

M/V Cecilia V is operated by Ligaya Martime Ventures Corporation and was carrying 950 metric tons of copra from Mati, Davao Oriental to General Santos City at the time.

The ship plies the Mati-General Santos route. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)