By Priam Nepomuceno

RESCUED. Passengers of a capsized motor banca M/B Lorean cling to a floating device of the Philippine Navy (PN) gunboat BRP Jose Loor Sr. some 38 nautical miles off Pangutaran Island, Sulu on Feb. 17, 2024. The PN on Monday said the rescued passengers gave food and water to the passengers and crew of M/B Lorena were given food, water before their turnover to civilian authorities in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi for counseling, medical examination and further assistance. (Photo courtesy of Naval Forces Western Mindanao)

MANILA – A Philippine Navy (PN) gunboat, the BRP Jose Loor Sr. (PC-390), helped the Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier, M/V Navios Lumen, in rescuing six passengers and crew of a sunken motor banca off Pangutaran Island, Sulu on Feb. 17.

The PN, in a statement Monday, said the M/B Lorena was sailing from Mapun enroute to Zamboanga City around Saturday noon when it encountered rough seas and strong currents, causing it to capsize.

That time, M/V Navios Lumen, which was headed toward Australia, was near the area and immediately maneuvered to rescue the passengers and crew of the motor banca.

The vessel reported the incident to authorities, including Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) which then deployed the BRP Jose Loor Sr. to facilitate the transfer of the rescued individuals.

“(In) the evening, (of February 17), PC-390 arrived and moored portside to M/V Navios Lumen at vicinity Sibutu Passage, Tawi-Tawi and immediately began the transfer of distressed passengers and further rendered necessary assistance,” the PN added.

Crew members of the Navy ships gave food and water to the passengers and crew of M/B Lorena before their turnover to civilian authorities in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi for counseling, medical examination and further assistance before going home to their families. (PNA)