ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Three persons were injured while six others were rescued when a motor launch caught fire, exploded and capsized in the waters off Tawi-Tawi near Sabah, Malaysia on Sunday, officials reported yesterday.
The M/L Marissa with nine crewmembers on board was loading gasoline from a tanker from Sabah when its generator’s battery sparked and caused an explosion near Panguan Island in Sitangkai town, according to Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., chief of the Western Mindanao Command.
Troopers from the Marine Battalion Landing Team-12 and personnel of the municipal disaster risk reduction management office responded and found in the area another motor launch Hasana and its captain Abi Usman.
Usman said there were three vessels in the area during the incident. These vessels were the Hasana, Marissa and the tanker from Sabah. He said the tanker immediately left after the explosion.
The area is a meeting point of fuel traders from Malaysia and the Philippines, Usman said. He said the crewmembers of Marissa boarded a motorized banca and sailed toward Bulu-bulu Island. The rescue team proceeded to the island and found the crewmembers including the three injured victims.
The team treated the injuries of the crewmembers and brought them to a hospital in Sibutu for further treatment.
Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas, chief of the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi, commended the Marines and the municipal disaster officials for responding to the incident. (PhilStar)