Coast Guard intercepts Chinese ship in Visayan SeaBy Carmel Matus
CEBU CITY, Philippines—A Chinese vessel was intercepted on Friday by Philippine authorities off Malapascua Island near the northernmost tip of Cebu.
The MV Ming Yuan, a Hong Kong-registered bulk carrier that came from Taipei in Taiwan, dropped anchor between the islands of Carnasa and Malapascua on Friday morning, said Philippine Coast Guard Central Visayas operations officer Cmdr. Weniel Azcuna.
He said the skipper of the vessel told Coast Guard officials that they were waiting for their cargo to arrive in Isabel, Leyte, which is about 36 nautical miles from Malapascua Island, popular a diving destination known for its pristine white-sand beach and clear waters.
Azcuna said the vessel’s crew failed to file a notice of arrival or inform the Coast Guard that they would be stopping by Malaspascua.
The presence of the vessel was noticed by fishermen and barangay officials who immediately called up the Coast Guard station in Barangay Hagnaya, San Remegio town, about two towns away from Daanbantayan town, which has jurisdiction over Malapascua.
Coast Guard officials inspected the vessel along with representatives from the Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Quarantine and the Bureau of Immigration.
The passports and seaman’s books of the 24 crew members were also confiscated. Azuna said he had yet to be informed about the names of the crew members since these were written in Chinese characters.
Azcuna said an initial report from his personnel aboard the vessel indicated that the bulk carrier was empty.
But he added that Immigration and Customs authorities were still determining the other infractions committed by the vessel, aside from failing to submit a notice of arrival.
Azcuna said after the inspection, the vessel would be advised to dock at the Coast Guard detachment in Hagnaya to settle the corresponding penalties with Immigration and Customs.