Fishing boat yields high-powered firearms

THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) arrested a fishing boat skipper and its security officer for illegal possession of firearms while patrolling in the Sulu Sea.

Lieutenant Commander Alvin Dagalea identified those arrested as Archer Masicampo and Wilfredo Bihante, the skipper and security officer, respectively, of F/B Orlando 2.

Dagalea said the PCG personnel aboard BRP-Malabrigo (MRRV-4402) were conducting security patrol when they spotted F/B Orlando 2 shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday, February 1, in the Sulu Sea.

Dagalea said BRP-Malabrigo maneuvered and accosted F/B Orlando 2 when it got no reply to its radio call sent to the fishing boat.

Masicampo said his crew failed to reply to the PCG's call since they do not have marine band, although they were equipped with radio communication set.

Masicampo said he was asleep at that time while they were sailing to Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.

Dagalea said the fishing boat, manned by crew including Masicampo and Bihante, were towed to Zamboanga City.

Dagalea said they discovered the firearms when the K9 unit of his command boarded and inspected F/B Orlando 2 on Friday morning, February 2.

The firearms consisted of an M-16 Armalite rifle with attached M-203 grenade launcher, an M-14 rifle, and Browning Automatic Rifle with several ammunition.

Bihante said the owner of F/B Orlando 2 provided them the firearms to be used to protect themselves from pirates while fishing at sea. (Bong Garcia/SunStar Philippines)
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