9 rescued as motor launch loaded with gasoline explodes

Published April 5, 2021, 5:43 PM

by Zea Capistrano

DAVAO CITY – Nine Filipino crew members of a motor launch boat that sank after an explosion were rescued by troops of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-12 (MBLT-12) on Easter Sunday.

In a statement Monday, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. said the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi reported that crew members of M/L Marissa were “loading gasoline from a tanker from Sabah when its generator battery sparked, causing its explosion.”

MBLT-12 commanding officer Lt. Col. Aladdin Caluza said the troops of the 312th Marine Company based in Panguan Island which was “the farthest island detachment” and the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) of Sitangkai responded to the area.

Caluza said the team found M/L Hasana and its boat captain identified as Abi Usman who reported that the crew of the sunken M/L Marissa boarded a small watercraft and sailed towards the direction of Bulu-Bulu Island.

Caluza added that the rescue team proceeded to the area where they found the distressed crew with three of the nine crew members sustaining burn injuries.

Based on the report of the WestMinCom, “there were three vessels in the area: M/L Hasana which is from Bongao, Tawi-Tawi; a gasoline tanker from Sabah; and the sunken vessel M/L Marissa.”

The injured crew members were brought to a hospital in Sibutu.