139 persons were successfully rescued from a joint anti-human smuggling operations under the lead of the National Coast Watch Center together with the Philippine Coast Guard and the National Bureau of Investigation after apprehending a 5,746 Gross-Tonned old cruise/passenger ship bound for Micronesia registered as “M/V Forever Lucky” with 41 crew onboard at 1AM today, July 03.
The National Coast Watch Center (NCWC) of the Office of the President received information from a foreign counterpart that a domestic passenger vessel of interest in Bataan was allegedly involved in human smuggling and other illegal activities.
“Being the lead coordinator in maritime security operations, and in pursuit of whole of government approach, the NCWC flagged the info to the PCG and the NBI that a certain vessel “MV Forever Lucky”, owned and operated by Farenheit Company Ltd (SBMA registered), presently docked in Orion, Bataan, was preparing to depart Philippines for Micronesia to transport undocumented number of Filipinos”, Rear Admiral Joel Garcia, Director of the National Coast Watch Center said.
A joint team from Coast Guard Bataan and the NBI boarded MV Forever Lucky at around 1 am) and found the 139 undocumented passengers on board. The company produced falsified and fictitious Special Permit to Navigate upon checking. There was also no Certificate of Public Convenience or franchise to legalize its operation, no manifest for the 139 passengers on board, and other documents required for its operation. Investigation is ongoing for filing of necessary charges against persons behind this illegal activity.
“We will continue to provide and maintain strict monitoring of all the vessels which enter, leave and transit within our territorial waters to prevent them from their lawlessness activities to protect our country’s sovereign waters and more importantly, our Filipino people.” Rear Admiral Garcia added.
The authorities are presently conducting further investigation for filing of necessary charges against persons behind this illegal activity.