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Navy ship rescues foreign and local divers on disabled yacht

A Philippine Navy gunboat rescued on Tuesday a yacht with 13 foreign nationals and three Filipino tourists on board near Apo Island, off Southern Negros.
Lt. (j.g.) Froilan Villaviza, executive officer of the BRP Jose Andrada, told the Inquirer that they rescued the MV Esmeralda del Mar some five nautical miles northeast of Apo island at 11:24 a.m. after it radioed for help. The yacht was rendered inoperable when its rudder got detached as it was nearing the popular scuba-diving destination.

On board were 10 American, two British, one German and three Filipino tourists.

The passengers were guests of the Coco Groove Beach resort in San Juan town in Siquijor, where the boat came from, Villaviza said.

Villaviza said all the passengers and the yacht’s four crewmen were safe and were taken to Apo Island.

The BRP Jose Andrada, skippered by Lt. Rainier Pagsugiron, conducts regular patrols off Negros Oriental, southern Cebu, Siquijor and Bohol.

This was the Philippine Navy’s second rescue operation of a passenger boat in two days.

Last Sunday, the Navy dispatched a vessel, along with another boat from the Philippine Coast Guard, to assist the disabled Azamara Quest, an 11-deck cruise ship that had lost power after an engine room fire and was drifting in the southwestern Philippines.


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Special Forces assault boats will soon patrol Davao Gulf to detect and deter piracy and terrorist threats in southern waters.

Two of these boats were formally turned over by Special Forces Regiment commander Brig. Gen. Ramiro Manuel Rey to Eastern Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal in Davao City on Tuesday, the EastMinCom said in a statement.

Madrigal said the boats will be “an additional capability in securing the municipal waters in the area of responsibility, particularly Davao Gulf, to preempt terrorists, piracy and other security threats from using the sea lanes in their terrorist and criminal acts. It can also be used for water search and rescue operations.”

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