Marines rescue 24 crew, passengers of capsized boat bound for Tawi-Tawi
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Zamboanga del Sur—Marines rescued 24 crew members and passengers of the ill-fated ML Sea Glory bound for Tawi-Tawi that capsized at the waters northeast off Bitinan Island, Banguingui town of Sulu in the dawn hours of Monday, June 14.
Colonel Hernanie Songano, commander of Naval Task Group Sulu, said the boat bound for South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi, encountered engine trouble at sea in the evening of June 13, as it was battered by strong waves and powerful sea current.
“The weather was fine when they left Zamboanga City early in the afternoon of June 13 but upon reaching Bitinan Island, the sea turned difficult, the waves were taller and the current was strong,” Songano said.
“The boat captain sent for help and when the Coast Guard sought (our) help, we immediately dispatched our MPAC (multipurpose assault craft) to the area. We encountered difficulties due to the current and the huge waves,” Songano added.
Among those rescued, boat captain Mohammad Ali S. Assiong said they encountered engine trouble as strong waves battered them near Bitinan Island. “The sea water penetrated the hull of our vessel, causing the engine to conk out. The entry of sea water also compromised the integrity of the hull of the motor launch, thus posing danger to the passengers,” he said.
Located between the waters of Basilan and Sulu, Bitinan Island is about 18 nautical miles from Tandubas Bato Pier in Luuk town, Sulu.
Majority of the passengers were small time businessmen who secured essential commodities and food stuff in Zamboanga City for the island of South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi.
Aside from Assiong, 58, those rescued included Arnin G. Jairul, 26; Habibjain U. Manayo, 26; Fatima Santos F. Ong, 61; Abdulmalik Maulurana, 30; Alsana Maulurana, 41; Eddie John Shun 25; Moh Elis Utoeglis, 55; Elibel S. Utoeglis, 30; Ahmed Deedat U. Isnani, 33 y/o; Asri Imbang, 22; Subtal Alih, 24; Akrim Abdulhakim, 46; Suhaili Darkin, 26; Ronnellio Moh. Hassan, 33; Jalil Dandahani, 22; Hja. Diantoy L. Assiong, 56; Adelie O. Mohammadbakie, 38; and Mohammad Said Bennaser, 26.
Five passengers who earlier jumped overboard, were later rescued by a passing fishing boat. They were Alnajin Najalin 46, Shemafadz Paraakka 36, Madsino Dirih 43, Bensaid Mohammad Said, 21, and Radzwida Pitung, 21.
“It was challenging for us to bring them here due to bad weather,” said Songano, adding that everyone under his command stayed up all night until Monday for the rescue operation. “But we managed to bring them to land safely. They were all cold and wet, mostly hungry. We gave them hot meals and given immediate medical attention. We transferred them to a staff house of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Luuk town,” Songano said.
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