SINSUAT, Maguindanao – Government forces rescued 12 foreign nationals who were found floating helplessly of the coast of Pura village here on Tuesday (July 31).
Acting on a tip from a local resident, the soldiers and marines saved the seafarers using motorized bancas.
Kyaw Pyho Louin, Chief Officer of the crew said that their group departed from Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia on board two marine vessels named Vessel Woodman 38 and 39, on July 25 in order to deliver iron and coal in Sanarin Dea Indonesia.
While navigating the high seas, the vessels were hijacked by pirates, tying down all crewmembers inside the mess room.
On July 30, one of the pirates forced them to abandon the ship, bringing only survival items like clothes, food and life raft.
Floating amidst huge waves that almost capsized their raft, the victims were just waiting miracles to happen. Their prayers were answered when they realized that soldiers were approaching to help them.
Lt. Colonel Noman L Alcovindas, Executive Officer of 38IB and Cpt Jonathan M Zulueta, Commanding Officer of Echo Company of 38IB, went to the village to fetch the victims and brought them to a military hospital.
Later, they were met by 6th Infantry Division chief Major General Rey Ardo who was accompanied by members of the Malaysian members of the International Monitoring Team.
The victims were identified as Indonesian nationals Zamroni Umor (59), Inyuman Buda Artha (37), Marthen Lukas (26), Aris Ariyanto (27), Rate Yusuf (31), Mulki (30), and Sotomo, (61); Malaysians Tie Sieng Huang (46), Runji Bin Chew (31), Razali Din Mok (23), and Fredy Nak Nain (25); and Kyaw Phyo Luoin (28) from Myanmar.
Speaking through an interpreter from the IMT, the victims thanked the soldiers for being their 'Guardian Angels' who saved them from harm.