Joint Task Group Sulu intercepts P104.8-M imported rice shipment PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 11:44

The authorities have seized a more than P100-million shipment of imported smuggled rice as they intercepted four vessels, including a foreign-owned, in the Sulu waters, an official announced Monday.

At the same time, the troops have seized high-power firearms consisting of seven M-14 rifles and five M-16 Armalite rifles including two with attached M-203 grenade launchers.

Capt. Ma. Rowena Muyuela, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) information officer, said the four vessels loaded with 131,000 sacks of 25 kilos each or 3,275 metric tons of imported rice were intercepted around 3:25 a.m. Monday near Pata Island, Sulu.

The intercepted rice shipment has an estimate value of P104.8 million.

Muyuela said that 116,000 of the 131,000 sacks of imported rice were seized aboard a Vietnamese vessel named M/V An Bien-89-ACLI skippered by Nguyen Van Loi with 16 Vietnamese crewmen.

Muyuela said the remaining 15,000 sacks of imported rice were seized aboard three locally-owned vessels namely: M/L KH with 11 crews and 79 laborers, 7,000 sacks; M/L Fatima Nurmina with 12 crews and 55 laborers, 1,000 sacks; and, M/L Boy-I manned by seven crewmen, 7,000 sacks.

She said one of the seven M-14 rifles and one M-16 rifle with attached M-203 grenade launcher were seized aboard M/L Fatima Nurmina and the remaining six M-14 rifles and four M-16 rifles including one with attached M-203 grenade launchers aboard M/L Boy-I.

She said the Joint Task Group Sulu troops were on seaborne patrol when they intercepted the four vessels west of Pata Island, Sulu.

Pata Island, which consists of 14 barangays, is a fifth class municipality in the province of Sulu with a population of 14,918 as of the 2010 census on population.

Muyuela said the four vessels are being escorted to this city to be turned over to the proper agencies of government for appropriate action.