The Philippine Coast Guard and the National Bureau of Investigation rescued 139 persons from a joint anti-human-smuggling operation, after arresting the 5,746 GT cruise ship 'M/V Forever Lucky' bound for Micronesia, with 41 crew onboard, in the early hours of July 3rd.
The National Coast Watch Center (NCWC) of the Office of the President received information from a foreign counterpart that a domestic passenger vessel of interest in Bataan was allegedly involved in human smuggling and other illegal activities.
"Being the lead coordinator in maritime security operations, and in pursuit of whole of government approach, the NCWC flagged the info to the PCG and the NBI that a certain vessel “MV Forever Lucky”, owned and operated by Farenheit Company Ltd (SBMA registered), presently docked in Orion, Bataan, was preparing to depart Philippines for Micronesia to transport undocumented number of Filipinos,"
...stated Rear Admiral Joel Garcia, Director of the National Coast Watch Center.
A joint team from Coast Guard Bataan and the NBI boarded MV Forever Lucky at around 1 am and found the 139 undocumented passengers onboard. The company produced falsified and fictitious Special Permit to Navigate upon checking.
There was also no Certificate of Public Convenience or franchise to legalize its operation, no manifest for the 139 passengers on board, and other documents required for its operation, the Philippine Coast Guard informed.
"We will continue to provide and maintain strict monitoring of all the vessels which enter, leave and transit within our territorial waters to prevent them from their lawlessness activities to protect our country’s sovereign waters and more importantly, our Filipino people."
The authorities are presently conducting further investigation for filing of necessary charges against persons behind this illegal activity.