Navy intercepts 27,000 sacks of rice being unloaded off Zambo
ZAMBOANGA CITY – A Mongolia-registered vessel loaded with 27,180 sacks of rice from Vietnam worth about P68 million was seized by authorities off Olutanga Island in Zamboanga Sibugay late Saturday, the Navy reported on Sunday.
Rear Admiral Rene Medina, commander of the naval forces in Western Mindanao, said MV Diamond 8 manned by a crew of 11 Bangladeshi and 4 Chinese nationals was unloading rice at sea when it was spotted.
He identified the foreign vessel’s captain as Chinese national Lin Yang Yin.
Medina said when the BRP Heneral Mariano Alvarez and Attack Boat 485 arrived, the crew of the MV Diamond 8 had already unloaded 8,000 sacks of rice to two motor vessels, MV Yssa Maine and MV Yousra.
However, the two boats immediately sped off, leaving behind its Filipino crew of 51, who were still hauling rice from MV Diamond 8.
In all, Medina said they managed to take custody of 66 people, one of them a minor.
The foreign vessel is now docked at the Majini Pier here.
The Bureau of Customs, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Bureau of Immigration, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, and the Social Welfare Department have been informed about the interception.
He said all individuals taken into custody were being investigated.
“The successful foiling of the illegal transport of smuggled tons of rice is the result of an intensified and focused maritime patrol and operation of the Philippine Navy. With this, the PN through Naval Forces Western Mindanao will continue to conduct constant monitoring and patrolling to deter any unlawful activities in its area of operation for a secured maritime environment,” Medina said. /cbb
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