Fifteen Filipino nationals, seven of whom are government workers, were repatriated back to the country last Monday, January 10, after being rescued by Malaysian authorities from a sea mishap last week.
Malaysian authorities turned over the survivors, composed of seven TESDA personnel and eight vessel crew members, to their Philippine counterparts aboard a Malaysian Coast Guard vessel along the border and sea waters off Sabah.
The Filipinos were transferred to a waiting Philippine Navy vessel and brought to Tawi Tawi Province.
Col. Nestor Narag Jr., Director of the Tawi Tawi Maritime Coordinating Center of Joint Task Force INDOMALPHI, handed over the Filipinos to Tawi Tawi officials during a formal ceremony held at the 2nd Marine Brigade Headquarters in Bongao Municipality.
The Filipinos were on board the Motor Launch Dayang Jubaira Express bound for Turtle Island from Bongao last January 6 when the vessel experienced engine trouble.
Big waves dragged the vessel to Bukit, Lawa Lawa, Sabah where the passengers were able to radio relatives for help.
A rescue operation was launched by the Maritime Coordinating Center Tawi Tawi of Joint Task Force INDOMALPHI together with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency in Tawau which led to the recovery of the victims.