3 dead, 7 rescued from grounded ship off Surigao del Norte

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021   •   317

MANILA, Philippines – Three bodies of crew members of a sea vessel that ran aground in vicinity waters of Surigao del Norte have been found, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Wednesday.

In an update, the PCG said it has also rescued seven crew members of the LCT Cebu Great Ocean but 10 are still missing.

The PCG identified one of the fatalities as Norman Galon, who was found by residents along the shoreline of Barnagay Bilte in San Francisco.

The two other fatalities were found along the shoreline of Barangay Jubgan in San Francisco but the PCG has yet to release their identities.

The rescued individuals were Noli Labucay, Roger Polo (Chief Mate), Arjie Bacarar, Joejie Villanueva, Felipe Quebuen, John Renzo Guanzon, and another who is yet to be identified.

They are currently receiving medical assistance in various hospitals in Surigao del Norte, the PCG said.

The agency on Tuesday reported that LCT Cebu Great Ocean ran aground near the coastline of Barangay Cantapoy. Its 20 crew members were reported missing.

The PCG and the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group (PNP-MARIG) said their search and rescue (SAR) operations will continue to look for other missing crew members.

A land mobility vehicle has also been deployed to conduct patrol operations along the shorelines of Malimono and San Francisco.

“Several PCG personnel continue to provide assistance to the survivors at the Malimono Regional Health Unit and the Caraga Regional for their speedy recovery. They are also on standby for the swift admission and provision of medical care to other survivors who will be rescued,” the PCG said.

Mga barko ng China sa Sabina Shoal matagumpay na naitaboy ng PCG

Marje Pelayo   •   May 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Iniulat ng Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) na matagumpay nilang naitaboy ang ilang barko ng China na pumasok sa Sabina Shoal sa karagatang sakop ng Pilipinas.

Ang Sabina Shoal ay matatagpuan humigit-kumulang 73 milya mula sa Mapankal Point, Rizal, Palawan.

Ayon kay PCG Spokesperson Commodore Armando Balilo, nagpadala ng radio communication ang Pilipinas ng mamataan ng BRP Cabra (MRRV-4409), MCS-3002, at MCS-3004 ang pitong ‘unidentified foreign vessel’ na naka-angkla sa lugar.

Kalauna ay natukoy na ito ay mga China Maritime Militia Vessel (CMMV).

“This is Philippine Coast Guard BRP Cabra (MRRV-4409). You are within Philippine exclusive economic zone. You are requested to provide the following: name of vessel, intention, last and next port of call on Channel 16,” panawagan ng PCG sa mga barko ng China.

Ito ay naganap sa sa kasagsagan ng joint maritime exercise ng PCG at Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) sa Sabina Shoal noong ika-27 ng Abril.

Ayon sa ulat ng PCG, nakipag-komunikasyon ang PCG sa mga ito para ipahayag na ang Sabina Shoal ay bahagi ng Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) ng Pilipinas.

Nang hindi makatanggap ng sagot pagkalipas ng tatlong radio communication, nilapitan ng mga barko ng Pilipinas ang mga barko ng China na agad namang nag-angat ng angkla at nagpa-andar ng makina.

Sinundan ng PCG at BFAR ang paglalayag ng mga barko para masigurong tuluyang aalis ang mga CMMV sa Sabina Shoal.

DFA files two protest vs China for “belligerent actions against the Philippine Coast Guard”

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has filed two protests against China for the continuous presence of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea, and its “belligerent actions against the Philippine Coast Guard.”

In a statement, the DFA said it has protested the shadowing, blocking, dangerous maneuver, and radio challenges by the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) on the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessels conducting legitimate maritime patrols and training exercises in the vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc.

The department also mentioned in its protest “the incessant, illegal, prolonged, and increasing presence of Chinese fishing vessels and maritime militia vessels in Philippine maritime zones.”

“From January 1 to March 18, 2021, Philippine maritime law enforcement agencies monitored the continued unauthorized presence and activities of hundreds of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea, particularly in the areas around the Pag-asa Islands, Zamora Reef, Panata and Kota Islands, Ayungin Shoal, Quirino Atoll, and Bajo de Masinloc,” the statement said.

The department also rejects the statement of the Spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 26 April 2021 that China enjoys sovereignty over Bajo de Masinloc, reiterating that such statement has no “basis in international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and is not recognized by the international community.”

The DFA further emphasized that “the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) and Bajo de Masinloc are integral parts of the Philippines over which it has sovereignty and jurisdiction.”

It also reiterated that China has no law enforcement rights in these areas.

The DFA also called on China “to withdraw its government vessels around the KIG and Bajo de Masinloc and respect Philippine sovereignty.” AAC

P7.3 million worth of smuggled cigarettes seized in waters off Zamboanga City

Robie de Guzman   •   April 30, 2021

State security forces have intercepted a watercraft carrying P7.3 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in waters off Barangay Recodo in Zamboanga City, the Philippine Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) said.

The NFWM said elements from its Seaborne Patrol Units, Navy SEALS, intelligence operatives, and members of the Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Customs seized the contraband that was loaded on MB Dream Boat on April 28.

The smuggled cigarettes were packed in 205 master cases and were loaded in a boat coming from Sulu.

The cigarettes bore brands like Cannon, Champion, New Far Gold, and New Far Green.

The boat had a crew of 10 who were escorted to Naval Station Romulo Espaldon.

“The crew underwent a medical check-up at Camp Navarro General Hospital and were all declared to be in good condition,” the NFWM said.

The apprehended individuals and the confiscated items were turned over to the custody of BOC Zamboanga District for proper disposition, it added.

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