Troops of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-12 rescued the crew distressed by the mishap at sea waters off Tawi-Tawi on April 4, 2021, said WestMinCom Commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr.
“Based on the report from Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi, the motor launch boat, M/L Marissa, with nine Filipino crew members on board was loading gasoline from a tanker from Sabah when its generator battery sparked causing its explosion,” said Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr.
According to MBLT-12 Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Aladdin Caluza, the troops of the 312th Marine Company based in Panguan Island (the farthest island detachment), together with the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) of Sitangkai responded to the area and found a water vessel named M/L Hasana and its Boat Captain identified as Abi Usman, 30 years old.
Usman revealed that there were three vessels in the area: M/L Hasana which is from Bongao, Tawi-Tawi; a gasoline tanker from Sabah; and the sunken vessel M/L Marissa. The tanker immediately left the area after the explosion.
He further divulged that the area is the meeting point of fuel traders from Malaysia and the Philippines.
“Boat Captain Usman said the crew of M/L Marissa boarded on small watercraft (tiririt) and sailed towards the direction of Bulu-Bulu Island,” said Lt. Col. Caluza.
The rescue team proceeded to the area and immediately checked on the situation of the distressed crew.
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.
“We are happy to be able to assist our countrymen in this part of the country. I commend our marines for their untiring dedication and unyielding commitment to serving the people and the state. They risked their own lives and safety by utilizing a small boat to respond to the sea mishap. We are glad that all went well and all the crew members were safe,” said Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas, Commander of the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi.
“This exemplifies the effective collaboration of the military and other agencies,” Brig. Gen. Rojas added.
The rescued personalities were then turned over to the local government unit of Sitangkai for proper documentation.
“The vigilance of our marine troopers is very commendable. Congratulations and carry on your humanitarian acts,” said Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. WESTERN MINDANAO COMMAND