Foreign vessel found carrying 60,000 bags of rice

STRANDED FOR DAYS

BOLINAO— Some 60,000 of bags of rice were found inside a stranded foreign vessel on January 8 in the town’s coastal waters.

 Suspected initially to be siphoning black sand, the ship was boarded by Bantay Dagat volunteers guarding the municipal waters here, joined by a combined team from Coast Guard, Maritime, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the local police.

Mayor Arnold Celeste said the report of the Bantay Dagat personnel about the presence of the foreign vessel that had been idle for days prompted him to form a team to validate the ship’s activity.

“We were anxious about its presence as there have been reports that there are foreign ships being sighted by some people reportedly siphoning black sand in Lingayen Gulf.,” Celeste said.

The ship’s captain, Zhau Quon, a Chinese, welcomed them aboard and confirmed that his ship, MV Honour, sailed from Vietnam en route to La Union carrying 60,000 bags of imported rice to be delivered to a consignee in San Quintin town in Pangasinan and suffered engine trouble.

The vessel was stationary within the 10 to 12 kilometers municipal waters of Bolinao.

Quon welcomed the inspection made by the local team and presented the ship’s and cargo   documents that showed that the Panama cargo vessel is owned by Trumway Shipping Company.

The vessel which has 15 crew members composed of five Chinese, six Myanmar, three Vietnamese and two Indonesian nationals, eventually managed to leave Bolinao waters three days later, January 11. 

Celeste also thanked his brother, First District Rep. Jesus Celeste, who initiated the conduct of validation. (Nora Dominguez/PhilStar Wire Service)

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