96 passengers, crew aboard vessel rescued

Elements of the Philippine Coastguard  have rescued 96 people, including 10 crewmen, from a wooden-hulled vessel in distress off Basilan province, PCG officials said Wednesday.

Lt. Commander Alvin Dagalea, Zamboanga Coastguard Station Commander, said the passengers and crew members were rescued at around 5:40 p.m. Tuesday near Mataja Island, Hadji Muhtamad, Basilan province.

Dagalea said the vessel, M/L Anica, drifted at sea after it developed mechanical defect while sailing from this city en route to Tandubas, Tawi-Tawi.

Nash Sali, a crew of M/L Anica, disclosed the vessel drifted after the engines’ transmission shaft conked out while they were sailing near Mataja Island.

Dagalea said the Multi-Role and Response Vessel-4402 (BRP-Malabrigo) responded and rescued the passengers and crew after receiving radio distress message from M/L Anica.

Capt. Charlie Rances, BRP-Malabrigo skipper, said they transferred all the passengers and crew to the MRRV-4402 and towed M/L Anica to the northern part of Basilan.

From there, Rances said another PCG vessel, DF-314, towed M/L Anica while they ferried all the passengers to this city.

“Although the engine is functioning, M/L Anica can no longer sail since its shaft was broken,” he added citing that caused the vessel to drift at sea. (PNA)