ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NavForWeM) has intercepted a shipment of P12 million worth of smuggled rice off Basilan province Friday.

The Naval Forces Western Mindanao intercepts a wooden-hulled vessel, M/V Indah Jehan, loaded with some P12 million worth of smuggled rice on Friday, July 12, 2019 after conducting a maritime security patrol near Lampinigan Island, Basilan province. (Photo courtesy of Navforwem Public Information Office via PNA / MANILA BULLETIN)

Rear Adm. Erick Kagaoan, NavForWeM commander, said NavForWeM’s special operation unit Naval Task Force 61 was conducting maritime security patrol when it chanced upon the wooden-hulled vessel M/V Indah Jehan in the vicinity of Lampinigan Island, Basilan.

Kagaoan said the vessel was loaded with some 10,000 sacks of rice worth P12 million with no importation documents.

Investigation showed that M/V Indah Jehan manned by 10 crewmen came from Labuan, Sabah, Malaysian.

The vessel was escorted to Ensign Majini Pier at the Naval Station Romulo Espaldon this city for proper documentation and turnover to the Bureau of Customs.

The foiled rice smuggling was a result of an intensified naval presence and focused maritime patrol of the Philippine Navy in support of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) operations.