A CARGO vessel loaded with an estimated P125 million rice believed to be smuggled was intercepted by the Philippine Coastguard at Sibuguey Bay in the Moro gulf, an official announced on Monday.
Captain Ronnie Gil Gavan, Coastguard District Southwestern Mindanao commander, said the cargo vessel, M/V J-Phia, was intercepted around 9:30 a.m. Sunday, January 7, 25 nautical miles southwest of Olutanga, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Gavan said the coastguard personnel aboard BRP-Tubbataha (MRRV-4401) intercepted the rice shipment while conducting maritime security patrol following intelligence report that a vessel loaded with contraband was seen sailing near Olutanga.
Gavan said they have taken M/V J-Phia into custody for violation of Republic Act 9993 otherwise known as the Philippines Coast Guard Law of 2009 since the vessel and its crew as well as the cargo were all undocumented.
He said the estimated worth of the rice shipment is P125 million based on the selling price of P2,500 per sack as the boat is loaded with around 50,000 sacks of rice of 50 kilos each.
He said they have yet to establish the point of origin as well as the destination of M/V J-Phia, which was moored at the local port and guarded by PCG personnel.
He said a probe team has been activated to determine other violations of the cargo vessel. (SunStar Philippines)