The Panamanian cargo ship MV Honour temporarily docked at the municipal waters of Bolinao, Pangasinan. (Photo courtesy of Mayor Arnold Celeste's official Facebook account)
BOLINAO, Pangasinan -- A foreign cargo vessel anchored at the municipal waters of this town in Western Pangasinan for the past several days due to engine trouble; and was discovered to be loaded with tons of rice from Vietnam during an inspection by authorities on Tuesday.
Bolinao mayor Arnold Celeste joined the inspection team that he created composed of representatives from the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police Maritime, Bolinao Police Station, Bantay Dagat and the local government unit (LGU), as well as representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which boarded the ship.
Celeste said the LGU’s Bantay Dagat reported to him the suspicious and questionable presence of the cargo ship, identified as MV Honour (a Panamanian cargo ship) about 15 kilometers northeast of barangay Dewey here.
“The Bantay Dagat went around the ship several times to get the attention of the ship crew but it was futile as no crew was sighted. No distress call was received by any government agency concerned based in the province of Pangasinan,” he said in an interview Wednesday.
The open sea of Bolinao town is an international nautical highway.
Celeste assured that the LGU has “always been on alert” to prevent illegal activities from developing within its jurisdiction.
He further said they were able to meet the passengers of the ship during the inspection.
“The ship captain identified himself as Zhau Qun, a Chinese national. Onboard are 15 crew members from China, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Indonesia. The team was peacefully and properly received inside the cargo ship, we were toured and were shown the hull where the rice shipment is stock-piled,” Celeste said.
The authorities learned it is loaded with more than 3,000 metric tons equivalent to 60,000 sacks of rice from Vietnam. Poro Point in San Fernando City, La Union is its point of entry.
The name of the consignee as stated in the documents presented by the ship official is Golden Mountain Multi-Purpose Cooperative based in San Quintin town in Pangasinan.
The contact person who will receive the shipment at Poro Point is allegedly a certain “Alex Chua.” (PNA)
Photo from Mayor Arnol Celeste’s Facebook Account/PNA