Tanker collides with BRP Tarlac in Zamboanga City

Roel Pareño - Philstar.com
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines -- The BRP Tarlac sustained minor damage after a Liberian-registered tanker hit it while it was anchored off Zamboanga City Monday night.
Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, said MT Tosca collided with the Tarlac 1,000 yards off the Ensign Majini Pier in Naval Station Romulo Espaldon.
R.Adm. Jorge Amba, commander of Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM), said no one was hurt in the collision but the BRP Tarlac sustained minor damage in her right forward bulwark and side ramp. The merchant ship also has wide scratch marks along its left bow.
Tan said MT Tosca, skippered by Dominador Tanguas Jr., was said to be headed to Bintulo, Malaysia when it hit the Navy ship.
Coastguard Station commander Lt. Junior Grade Jimmy Berbo directed his personnel to investigate the circumstances of the collision.
The MT Tosca has been barred from sailing pending the results of the investigation.
Amba said initial findings showed BRP Tarlac was anchored and all passing ships and watercraft were supposed to keep clear.
He said that the Tarlac tried to radio and use flashing lights to alert the MT Tosco that it was getting too near, prompting the tanker to try to maneuver away. The MT Tosco's engine reportedly shut down and the ship drifted towards the Tarlac.
“Pag namatay ang makina, the ship [is] at the mercy of the forces of nature. But, basically, they seemed to be helpless at that time, kaya umabot [sa Tarlac],” Amba said.
The BRP Tarlac is the Navy's newest and largest ship and had been deployed to the Sulu Sea to lead a blockade to prevent members of the Abu Sayyaf from escaping a military offensive in Sulu province.

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