27 people on drifting boat rescued in joint Philippine-Malaysian operation

Photo: Philippine Navy

A joint operation involving vessels and personnel of the Philippine Navy, Malaysian maritime authorities, and other partner agencies has resulted in the successful rescue of 27 Filipino nationals who had been drifting at sea for four days after their boat suffered engine trouble.

The motor launch Laiza 1 had 15 passengers and 12 crewmembers on board when it departed Tawi-Tawi province in the southern Philippines on November 26.

The boat had a final destination of Turtle Island in the same province. However, it was reported missing later that same day after authorities realised that it failed to arrive at the appointed time.

An alert was then sent out to local partner agencies and to the Maritime Command Centre (MCC) in Tawau in the northern Malaysian state of Sabah.

The Tawau MCC was able to locate the missing launch on Wednesday, November 30. The vessel was seen just off the northern coast of Borneo more than 400 kilometres from its port of origin.

A Philippine Navy patrol craft then sailed to the area, brought all 27 passengers and crew on board, and transported them back to Tawi-Tawi for medical treatment as the disabled vessel was taken under tow.

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