Ensign Chester Ian B Ramos, Public Information Officer of the Joint Task Force ZAMBASULTA, said that at 3:25am, February 23, 2015, the Naval Task Unit composed of PG388 and PG387 headed by LCdr Richard Rosales PN, together with 1Lt Ed Leonelle Marvin Mapalo PN(M) who led the 64th Marine Company, conducted board and search to said foreign cargo vessel (M/V AN BIEN-89-ALCI) boarded by 16 Vietnamese nationals under Captain Nguyen Van Loi, the ship skipper.
Seized from the foreign vessel were 116,000 sacks of imported rice out of the original 152,000 sacks from the Sunrise Ship and Trading Company consigned by a certain Alfarsi Tan Hasiman from Jolo, Sulu.
Reports from ground units revealed that the foreign cargo vessel arrived on Thursday (February 19) from Mythoi Port Vietnam carrying 152,000 sacks of rice and started to unload last February 20, 2015 (Friday). Accordingly, local vessels transported said smuggled rice to different areas in Mindanao.
According to Colonel Alan Arrojado PA, Commander, Joint Task Group Sulu: “Local vessels were also apprehended for carrying smuggled rice and seized firearms by the Naval Task Unit.
Apprehended were MV Delta Queen loaded with 20,000 smuggled sacks of rice from MV AN BIEN; ML BOY1 boarded by seven (7) crew members and loaded with 7,000 sacks of rice and nine (9) firearms: six (6) M14, two (2) M16 and one (1) M203 GL; ML Fatima Nurmina boarded by 12 crew members and 55 laborers and loaded with 1,000 smuggled sacks of rice and confiscated firearms: one (1) M14 and one (1) M16 with M203 GL; and ML KH loaded with 7,000 sacks of rice and boarded by 11 crew members and 79 laborers.”
The successful apprehension of vessels carrying smuggled items and seizures of firearms was made possible through the relentless efforts of the Joint Task Force ZAMBASULTA, Joint Task Group Sulu, local populace and other government agencies involved.
Commander, Joint Task Force ZAMBASULTA, Rear Admiral Reynaldo Yoma AFP, said: “All apprehended vessels and cargoes will properly be turned-over to the Bureau of Customs for proper documentation and filing of appropriate charges. I also commend the men and women of JTF ZAMBASULTA, JTG Sulu and all participating units in this operation for a job well done.”
The intensified conduct of law enforcement and maritime security operations by NAVFORWEM is part of the assistance to the Bureau of Customs in curbing smuggling activities in Zamboanga City.
Foreign Vessels with Smuggled Rice and Firearms.