ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 12 Jan) – Fifteen Filipinos from Tawi-tawi were rescued by the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) last week after their passenger motor launch developed engine trouble and was carried by strong winds and waves, until it ran aground in Sabah.
The seven passengers, who are trainors of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and eight crew members of M/L Dayang Jubaira Express were repatriated by Malaysian authorities to their Philippine counterparts on Monday, according to a press statement released by the Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) on Wednesday.
The motor launch reportedly left Bongao morning of January 6 on its way to Taganak, one of the Turtle Islands, to conduct trainings for youths who qualified for livelihood courses.
But the watercraft experienced engine trouble and was dragged by big waves until it ran aground on the shores of Bukit, Lawa-lawa, Sabah, Lt. Chester Ross Cabaltera, NFWM acting public affairs officer, said in the press statement.
When the trainors did not arrive at Taganak as the students waited, TESDA provincial director Maryam Nuruddin was worried and sought help, prompting the Philippine Coast Guard to conduct a search of the missing boat the next day, to no avail.
Their whereabouts were known only when the MMEA – through Ahmad Firdaus Bin Shaari, deputy director for operations of the MMEA Maritime Zone of Sandakan – communicated with the Philippine Navy about the rescue.
The 15 Filipinos were turned over to Marine Col. Nestor Narag, director of the Maritime Coordinating Centers in Tawi-Tawi, on Jan. 10. The 15 were transferred from a Malaysian Coast Guard vessel to a Philippine Navy ship, the NFWM press release said.
According to the letter sent by the Malaysian agency, coordination was made by the Joint Task Force IndoMalPhi (Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines) through the Joint Task force Tawi-Tawi.
According to Abrille Oraiz, of the Municipal Tourism Office of Turtle Islands, the TESDA trainors involved in the sea mishap are Juraid Ayub, Karnahar Mayan, Paul Nixon Mongcupa, Alhakim Hassan, Mahmur Daham, Rajuma Salim, and Rudy Jalil.
Aboard the motor launch were Hji Mohammad Taha Abbas (the captain), Alsakib Abbas, Castanida Abbas, Rederick Delasema, Ali Akbar, Taj Alla, Alnaif Palis, and Hamsafar Barahim.
Turtle Islands Mayor Hji. Mohammad Faizal Jamalul, in a statement issued by the local government unit, expressed gratitude to the maritime troops of both countries and provided temporary relief to the 15 sea mishap survivors. (Frencie Carreon / MindaNews)