The BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS-36), one of the three Jacinto-class patrol vessels in Philippine Navy (PN) service, has successfully intercepted and captured a Vietnamese vessel illegally fishing 33 nautical miles away from the waters of Curimao town, Ilocor Norte Thursday afternoon. This took place 4:06 p.m. as the ship was conducting search-and-rescue operations for the 13 fishermen who were reported missing due to the onslaught of Tropical Depression “Kabayan” last week.
Capt. Albert Mogol, Naval Task Force 40 commander, said BRP Apolinario Mabini departed from Pier 2, Poro Port, San Fernando City, La Union around 9:36 a.m. for the search-and-rescue mission. While on patrol, the ship sighted the Vietnamese fishing vessel acting suspiciously and challenged the latter several times via marine radio.
Mogol said the foreign vessel did not respond and instead evaded BRP Apolinario Mabini, prompting the Filipino warship to intercept the fishing vessel and conduct visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) procedures.
During the conduct of VBSS, it was found out that the Vietnamese ship has a crew of seven without pertinent documents and identification papers.
Further inspection revealed that the fishing vessel was loaded with undetermined number of marine products, with still undetermined market value, such as manta rays, tuna, and shark meat and fins, believed to be illegally caught within the Philippine exclusive economic zone.
Mogol said he then directed the BRP Apolinario Mabini to tow the Vietnamese fishing vessel to the port of Currimao, Ilocos Norte to facilitate proper turn over procedures to the representatives of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-Ilocos Norte, Bureau of Immigration (BI) and Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee for Illegal Entrant (PCIE) with the assistance of Coast Guard Station Curimao for proper disposition.