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Storm-tossed vessel on Manila Bay alarms Coast Guard

/ 05:00 AM September 21, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—A cargo vessel found to have been used for arms smuggling five years ago has again become a cause for concern.

Strong waves caused by Tropical Storm “Mario” pushed the MV Captain Ufuk dangerously close to the Roxas Boulevard seawall in Manila on Friday, raising fears that the next storm could send it slamming into the structure and cause an oil spill.

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In an interview Saturday, Petty Officer Edgar Tantiado of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) substation at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, said the PCG had called the attention of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) which has custody of the anchored vessel.

Being prepared for auction by the BOC, the Panama-registered Ufuk was seized by the government upon its arrival in Mariveles, Bataan province, in August 2009 for illegally carrying 14 crates of high-power firearms, Tantiado said.

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PCG personnel on Friday noticed that strong waves moved the vessel closer to the seawall by 60 meters from where it was positioned before the storm.

Tantiado warned that an impact on the seawall could damage the vessel and result in an oil spill.

It was not immediately known how much fuel remained in the vessel. Niña P. Calleja

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TAGS: Manila Bay, Mario, MV Captain Ufuk, Philippine Coast Guard
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