Naval forces rescue 8 persons off Turtle Islands

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 24 Nov) – Sailors on board BRP Florencio Iñigo (PC-393) rescued eight residents from Turtle Islands in Tawi-Tawi as the M/L Rihana, a passenger motor launch, was found distressed in the vicinity of the waters off Sibutu Island in the same province.

A Naval Task Group Tawi-Tawi personnel provides medical aid to the eight rescued persons off Turtle Islands in Tawi-Tawi on 22 November 2022. Photo courtesy of NTGT

Lt. Senior Grade Chester Ross Cabaltera, spokesperson of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, said the incident happened early dawn Thursday.

The passengers departed Taganak Island from the municipality of Turtle Islands late Monday night and were headed towards Bongao, Tawi-Tawi’s capital town. However, strong waves and rough sea conditions led the vessel to have engine trouble.

“The report came from a concerned civilian who relayed to the Littoral Monitoring Station Bongao who immediately coordinated with the Naval Task Group Tawi-Tawi. BRP Florencio Iñigo or PC-393, a patrol craft, was deployed with its navy personnel conducting the rescue operations,” said Cabaltera.

The rescue of three passenger, four crew members, and the boat master was performed about 2:20 in the morning.

M/L Rihana is registered as operated by a certain Abdulmar Mai.

The rescued passengers, including a female senior citizen, were provided with medical assistance by the NTG’s Forward Medical Support Team. When declared to have been in good medical conditions, their custody was turned over to their respective relatives in Bongao.

“This is part of our mandate to render Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (or HADR) in times of emergency. Operations like this complement our Civil Military Operations to bring our organization closer to the people,” said Brig. Gen Romeo Racadio, commander of Naval Task Group Tawi-Tawi. (Frencie L. Carreon / MindaNews)