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32 passengers rescued in Sulu Sea


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – At least 32 passengers, including eight Marine soldiers, were rescued on New Year’s Day from a vessel that drifted for four days off Mapun Island in Sulu Sea, a Navy official said yesterday.

Rear Admiral Armand Guzman, Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) chief, said two Navy vessels and an aircraft were immediately dispatched after receiving a distress call last Dec. 29 from F/B Kent-Ford 2, a fishing vessel traveling from Mapun Island and bound to this city.

Guzman said the ill-fated vessel, which left Mapun Island last Dec. 28, developed a mechanical problem and drifted on the rough seas. The boat has seven crew and 25 passengers including eight Marines.

He said the rescue boats had hard time locating the boat because its navigation equipment also malfunctioned.

“They drifted on the high sea before they were spotted by the naval islander aircraft. But their locations kept on changing because of the strong drift due to rough seas and the search vessel could hardly locate them,” Navy chief Vice Admiral Alexander Pama said.

All the rescued victims were escorted and arrived yesterday afternoon at Majini Pier in this city.
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By Roel Pareño The Philippine Star Updated January 03, 2012 12:00 AM

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