Navy rescues fishing boat with 32 people off Tawi-Tawi

January 3, 2012 10:11 am 

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Jan. 2 – The Philippine Navy rescued a distressed fishing boat with 32 people aboard, including eight Marine soldiers, off Tawi-Tawi on New Year's Day, a top Navy official said Monday.

Rear Admiral Armando Guzman, Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) commander, said the fishing boat F/B Kent-Ford 2, manned by seven crewmen, departed last Wednesday from the port of Mapun municipality, Tawi-Tawi en route to Zamboanga City.

However, Guzman said the fishing boat's engine conked out the next day, causing it to drift at sea.

Guzman said his command dispatched two vessels backed by an aircraft upon receipt of distress call from the fishing boat to conduct search and rescue operation.

A vessel of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) manned by Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel also joined the search and rescue operation, Guzman said.

He said it took them four days to locate F/B Kent-Ford 2 since the fishing boat's Global Positioning System (GPS) also malfunctioned and “the only means of contact is through radio transceiver.”

Twenty of the 32 people aboard F/B Kent-Ford 2 arrived at the NFWM's Majini Pier Monday afternoon aboard a Navy vessel while the fishing boat was towed by another Navy boat.

F/B Kent-Ford 2, with its seven-man crew and remaining five passengers, who opted to stay aboard the fishing boat, was scheduled to arrive Monday night at the port of Jolo, Sulu.

“The passengers were all exhausted but in high spirits when they were rescued,” Guzman said.

“The personnel aboard the rescuing vessels gave them basic provisions such as food and water. They also tendered medical attention to some passengers who have been ailing,” Guzman added. (PNA) /scs/Teofilo P. Garcia/utb

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