March 15, 2019
Soldiers intercepted a motorized boat loaded with ammonium nitrate in the waters off Simusa Island on Thursday.
Col. Gerry Besana, spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command, said the troops of 83rd and 84th Inshore Boat companies, Inshore Boat Battalion encountered a watercraft boarded by four passengers off Simusa Island en route to Basilan around 5:45 pm.
Besana said the motorized boat was carrying 38 sacks of ammonium nitrate.
“Initial investigation disclosed that the ammonium nitrate originated from Laminusa Island in Siasi, Sulu and would be transported to Basilan,” he said.
“The Marine troops towed the boat towards the Tactical Command Post of Marine Battalion Landing Team-1 on Simusa Island for disposition,” he added.
Aside from being a fertilizer, ammonium nitrate can also be used in making bombs.
Besana said the passengers were presented to Col. Armel Tolato, Philippine Marine ready fleet Sulu commander after their boat was towed.
“They will undergo a custodial debriefing at Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT)-1 before their turnover to the Banguingui municipal police station for disposition and filing of appropriate charges,” he said.
Lt. General Arnel Dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command chief, said the arrest was a result of maritime patrols to secure the waters of Western Mindanao.
“Sailors and Marines operate in maritime areas of Western Mindanao to curb smuggling and other illegal activities that affect the security and development in Mindanao,” he said. Robina Asido/DMS
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