January 31, 2023

Juan Kabayan

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27 Filipinos adrift for 4 days rescued off Sabah

ZAMBOANGA CITY: Philippine and Malaysian navies have rescued over two dozen Filipino passengers and crewmen of a motor launch off Borneo after being adrift for four days, the Philippine Navy said Saturday.

The Naval Forces Western Mindanao said the joint rescue operations led to the recovery of the vessel and its 12 crewmen and 15 passengers who were reported missing since November 26. According to a report, the boat M/L Laiza 1 was sailing to Taganak Island from Tawi-Tawi’s Bongao town when its engine failed, and the vessel then drifted to Sabah.

RESCUED AT SEA The Filipino sea vessel M/L
Laiza 1 drifted for four days to Sabah before being rescued and towed
by the Philippine Navy back to Tawi-Tawi on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

RESCUED AT SEA The Filipino sea vessel M/LLaiza 1 drifted for four days to Sabah before being rescued and towedby the Philippine Navy back to Tawi-Tawi on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022.CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

It said the Philippine Coast Guard in Bongao town reported the vessel missing and coordinated with the Naval Forces Western Mindanao to help locate it.

The Naval Forces Western Mindanao immediately coordinated with the Maritime Command Center in the southern Tawi-Tawi province. In turn, it collaborated with its counterpart in Tawau City in Sabah for a joint search-and-rescue mission under the Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement Framework between the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The Maritime Command Center in Tawau City located the boat on Wednesday, November 30, off Borneo Island and reported it to the Maritime Command Center in Bongao. This led to the rescue of the 27 people.

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The Philippine Navy’s BRP Florencio Iñigo fetched the Filipinos and towed the boat to Bongao town, where the rescued passengers and crew members were given medical attention, clothes and food and handed over to the representatives of the local and provincial governments.

Brig. Gen. Romeo Racadio, commander of the 2nd Marine Brigade and Naval Task Group Tawi-Tawi, lauded Malaysia for assisting in the search-and-rescue efforts.

“We are glad that our friends from Maritime Command Center Tawau are always ready to assist us in such events and the safe recovery was a result of the working Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement with Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines,” he said.