NAVY NABS 34 SUSPECTED ILLEGAL FISHERS NEAR MALAMPAYA PLATFORM
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- A patrol boat of the Philippine Navy (PN) has intercepted 34 suspected illegal fishermen Tuesday within the exclusion zone of the Malampaya deep-water gas-to-power platform off the coast of El Nido.
Captain Cherryl Tindog, chief of the Public Affairs Office (PAO) of the Western Command (Wescom) in Palawan, said Wednesday that BRP Carlos Albert (PC 375), under the Joint Task Force Malampaya (JTFM), intercepted the suspects eight nautical miles off the natural gas platform.
Citing reports from the JTFM that reached WESCOM, Tindog said PC 375 spotted the boat identified as Andrea-3 while conducting patrol in the area.
The crew was caught inside the exclusion zone at around 12:35 p.m., she said.
When the Navy conducted an inspection, it was found out the crew employed the illegal fishing method of using compressors.
“Wescom reiterates its commitment to the preservation and conservation of our marine resources. That is why, we continue to urge the fishing community not to compromise our natural marine ecosystems by engaging in illegal fishing,” she added.
PC 375 brought the boat and the crewmen to Liminangcong Pier in Taytay, northern Palawan, for turnover to the custody of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and proper disposition.
Meanwhile, Wescom commander Lieutenant Gen. Rozzano Briguez said the apprehension is a clear example of the military’s firm resolve to ensure that maritime laws are upheld in its joint area of operations.
"Wescom continues to conduct maritime security patrols and support to maritime law enforcement in Palawan waters and vital installations, including the West Philippine Sea, to ensure that our natural resources and rich biodiversity are protected for future generations," he said.
Fishermen venturing within the Malampaya gas project exclusion zone are prohibited under Presidential Proclamation No. 72, which established security zones for the offshore project.
The state prohibits activities which may pose a potential risk to the project infrastructure and for public safety within the exclusion zone. (PNA)
Photo courtesy of Wescom PAO