Navy seizes smuggled rice from foreign ship near Zamboanga Sibugay

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Navy apprehended a foreign ship with 15 crew members for allegedly smuggling rice near Olutanga Island in Zamboanga Sibugay on Saturday, April 14. 

On board the Mongolian-registered vessel MV Diamond 8 were 11 Bangladeshis and 4 Chinese, together with 34 Filipinos. The crew captain was identified as Lin Yang Yin.

The cargo vessel carried 27,180 sacks of Vietnam rice worth P67.950 million. 

Naval Forces Western Mindanao commander Rear Admiral Rene Medina, however, said that it already unloaded "more or less 7,000 to 8,000 sacks" to two other vessels identified as MV Yssa Maine and MV Yousra, whose locations have yet to be determined.

MV DIAMOND 8. The Mongolian-registered vessel is apprehended near Zamboanga Sibugay. Photo from Naval Forces Western Mindanao

MV DIAMOND 8. The Mongolian-registered vessel is apprehended near Zamboanga Sibugay.

Photo from Naval Forces Western Mindanao

The vessel was escorted to Ensign Majini Pier in Zamboanga City for further investigation, while the individuals aboard were given medical checkups before being turned over to law enforcement agencies. 

Medina assured the public that the Philippine Navy will continue its "relentless and intensified maritime patrol."

"The successful foiling of the illegal transport of smuggled tons of rice is a result of an intensified and focused maritime patrol and operation of the Philippine Navy," said Naval Forces Western Mindanao in a statement.

"With this, the Philippine Navy through the Naval Forces Western Mindanao will continue to conduct constant monitoring and patrolling to deter any unlawful activities in its area of operation for a secured maritime environment." – Rappler.com