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Chinese ship removed from reef

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Chinese boat F/B Min Long Yu has been removed from Tubbataha Reef almost two weeks after it ran aground in the UNESCO heritage site, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday.

PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said salvage teams on a tugboat owned by the Malayan Towage and Salvaging successfully removed the 48-meter Chinese boat from the atoll at 2:20 p.m.

Balilo said the M/T Limay owned by the salvage company was able to pull the Chinese boat that was stuck on the reef  for 11 days.

“So far we have not received any official report. But the last time that it moved, a big portion of the ship was in the deep part of Tubbataha so when the high tide came, they were able to pull it out,” he said.

PCG commandant Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena said they conducted an underwater hull and propeller inspection before towing the Chinese boat to Puerto Princesa City.

“I have also ordered a more detailed inspection of the vessel to know if there is anything else on board the ship that can be used as evidence,” Isorena said.

Balilo added they would also do an assessment on the extent of damage on the reef by the grounded Chinese boat.

“We don’t have any damage assessment yet,” Balilo said.

On Thursday, the salvage teams failed in their first attempt to pull the Chinese vessel from the north atoll.

An initial inspection of the boat led to the discovery of some 400 boxes of processed anteaters or pangolins, locally called balentong.

Authorities are preparing to file charges against the 12 Chinese for illegal entry and poaching.

Additional charges of violating the Wildlife Resources and Conservation Protection Act for the boxes of anteaters seized from their boat are also being prepared against the 12 Chinese.

The military is verifying if the 12 Chinese are spies masquerading as fishermen. – With Jaime Laude

                      

B MIN LONG YU

BALILO

BOAT

CHINESE

COMMANDER ARMAND BALILO

MALAYAN TOWAGE AND SALVAGING

ON THURSDAY

PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY

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