Monday, April 5, 2021

9 boatmen rescued after explosion at sea off Tawi-Tawi

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Philippine Marines rescued 9 Filipino boatmen, three of them injured, following an explosion while loading gasoline from a Malaysian tanker near the border in Sabah.


Military photos show one of 9 boatmen posing while his boat burns from afar following an explosion that injured 3 people. 

Army Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., chief of the Western Mindanao Command, said the Filipino boat ML Marissa burned and sunk off Bulu-Bulu Island in Tawi-Tawi province. 

The tanker, which came from Sabah, quickly fled the area before troops could arrive. The incident occurred over the weekend. 

“Among the nine crew members, three incurred burn injuries. The marine troops provided immediate care to the injured personalities after which they were brought to a hospital in Sibutu for further medical attention,” Vinluan said, adding the military has identified the boat captain as Abi Usman. The rest of the Filipinos were not named by the military. 

Vinluan said a spark in the generator of the boat caused the explosion. “Based on the report from Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi, the ML Marissa, with nine Filipino crew members, on board was loading gasoline from a tanker from Sabah when its generator battery sparked causing the explosion,” Vinluan said. 

Usman revealed the area is a meeting point of fuel traders from Malaysia and the Philippines. It was not immediately known whether those involved in the gasoline trade were smugglers or not. Another Filipino boat, ML Hasana, was also in the area when Marines arrived. 

Smuggling of fuel and oil and other goods from Sabah is rampant in the South. (Mindanao Examiner)

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