Vessel involved in human smuggling runs aground off Palawan, Philippines

Vessel involved in human smuggling runs aground off Palawan, Philippines Image: Philippine Coast Guard

A cruise ship that had been involved in human trafficking ran aground in the waters off Palawan province in the Western Philippines on January 7.

Forever Lucky was being towed from Bataan province just north of Manila to General Santos City in the Southern Philippines for drydocking and repair when the incident occurred.

Strong winds and huge waves caused the connecting line between the cruise ship and the tug towing it to break. The larger vessel then drifted until it became grounded on a shallow rocky area about 15 nautical miles northeast of the municipality of Cagayancillo.

All 17 occupants on board Forever Lucky were rescued without injury by small boat crews that were despatched to the scene by local authorities. The vessel itself, however, remains grounded while the Philippine Coast Guard and other agencies attempt to extricate it.

No oil spills have been reported.

Forever Lucky had earlier come under scrutiny by Philippine authorities in July 2018 after it was discovered that it was being used to transport 139 undocumented Filipinos to the US territory of Guam which they were to enter illegally.

The vessel had been seized while still in Philippine waters, preventing it from departing for Micronesia prior to sailing towards Guam.

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