Authorities rescue vessel captain PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 26 March 2017 14:58

By LIZA JOCSON

The Captain of a tugboat who was abducted during a piracy attack in seas off Sibago Island along with another official was rescued by authorities in a Basilan municipality yesterday.

The Western MIndanao Command identified the hostage as Captain Aurelio Agacac, the Captain of  M/Tug 9.

Agacac was rescued at around 3:20 am in barangay Basakan, municipality of Mohammad Adjul.

Another captive, Chief Engineer Laurentio Tiro, was separated from Agacac and is still the subject of rescue operations by authorities.

Agacac was presented to members of the media at the Western Mindanao Command Headquarters during a press conference at around 2:30pm yesterday.

Accompanied by military and police officials led by Maj Gen Carlito Galvez, Agacac walked inside the media center without any noticeable signs of enduring hardships brought about by his nearly two-day captivity by the Abu Sayyaf.

During the press conference, Galvez attributed the rescue of Agacac to the combined efforts of military, police and the local government who all mobilized their efforts that led to the safe rescue of the kidnap victim.

Agacac, for his part, thanked God and all the units led by the Western Mindanao Command that led to his safe rescue.

The rescue was characterized by gunfire from naval and air assets that bombarded the evading group of Abu Sayyaf kidnappers and Agacac even before they reached the shores of Mohammad Adjul town.

Two Abu Sayyaf bandits were hit by gunfire.  One, who was hit at the back was killed while the other one was even carried by Agacac to safety after the boat captain himself tied up the wound with his shirt.

The group was followed by gunfire from combined military and police forces as they were trying to make it to higher ground.

Agacac said that he was not able to sleep and was only able to eat rice and salt through out his nearly two-day ordeal.

He was reportedly able to escape when only about two Abu Sayyaf bandits were guarding him.

He was found near the coastline of barangay Basakan in Mohammad Adjul town at around 3:20 Saturday morning by a member of a Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO) who was mobilized by the local government to help in hunting down the group.

Agacac is scheduled to be airlifted via an Air Force plane to Cebu City today.

Agacac is the captain of the M/Tug 9, a tugboat accompanying the Super Shuttle Ro-ro-9.

The captain together with the tugboat’s Chief Engineer were taken by Abu Sayyaf bandits while they were sailing in seas off Sibago Island last Thursday.

The two victims were among 11 crew members of the tugboat. (Liza Jocson)