By Raymund Antonio
Three seaweed farmers aboard a drifting boat survived at sea for two weeks before authorities rescued them off Celebes Sea on January 9.
The farmers, Bakri Nuli, Michael Suwaib, and Al Mujer Anim, from Tawi-Tawi and Basilan, spent Christmas and New Year away from home, until they were found by fishing boat San Andres 757.
They were reported missing after they traveled by boat on December 22 from Bongao to Sitangkai in Tawi-Tawi.
According to the survivors, they encountered engine problem at 6 p.m. on that day while en route to their destination. PCG identified their boat as “Reebok” that only has an outboard motor.
The Coast Guard said the boat went dead on water until it drifted to Celebes Sea. The farmers found themselves hopelessly lost.
After drifting for 11 days, the three were spotted by a passing fishing boat owned and operated by San Andres Fishing Industries, Inc. (SAFI), whose crew helped them.
The crew reported the incident, leading personnel of PCG’s BRP Cape San Agustin (MRRV-4408) and Special Operation Unit-South Western Mindanao to conduct a rescue operation.