THE Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM), through the Naval Task Force (NTF)-61, in collaboration with the Bureau of Customs, have intercepted three vessels and seized some P24.3 million worth of contrabands in the Sulu Sea.
The NFWM said the NTF-61 intercepted M/B JFM in the vicinity of North Ubian, Pangutaran, Sulu while conducting maritime security operation on Sunday, January 14.
The NFWM said M/B JFM was found to be loaded with 700 master cases of undocumented cigarettes with P14 million. Also seized were one M653 rifle, a caliber .45 pistol and ammunition.
The NFWM said M/B JFM was intercepted by the NTF-61 operatives while returning to Pangutaran. The vessel was supposed to sail to Palawan from Pangutaran but the skipper decided to navigate back to its point of origin due to engine trouble.
While taking into custody M/B JFM, the NTF-61 operatives intercepted another vessel, M/L Somewhere-5, that was sailing to Pangutaran coming from Palawan.
When inspected, M/L Somewhere-5 was found to the transporting some P3.3 million worth of undocumented petroleum products and 164 sacks of Ammonium Nitrate, a fertilizer which is also being used as a bomb-making component.
Meanwhile, the NTF-61 operatives have also intercepted M/L Fatima Daniya, in the vicinity of northwest Basbas Island, Sulu.
M/L Fatima Daniya was transporting approximately 100,000 liters of undocumented petroleum products worth around P6.5 million from the island town of Mapun, Tawi-Tawi to Sulu.
The NFWM said the three vessels, crewmen and the confiscated contrabands were turned over to the Bureau of Customs for proper disposition.
Rear Admiral Donn Anthony Miraflor, NFWM commander, expressed satisfaction and pride, sayingthat the success of this operation underscores the professionalism and dedication of NFWM in safeguarding the country's maritime boundaries and upholding the rule of law. (SunStar Zamboanga)