APO ISLAND, Philippines -- STRONG WINDS and rains caused by a low pressure area drove a Manila-bound Indonesian vessel from Malaysia to run aground at the Apo Reef Natural Park, a protected area in Occidental Mindoro.
The 2,003-ton M/V Marthen hit parts of the Apo Reef around 1 p.m. Monday and remains about six kilometers from the main reef until this posting as severe weather conditions prevent the vessel from proceeding.
The country’s weather bureau yesterday said the surge of strong winds associated with the northern easterly will continue in the coming days, affecting parts of Luzon and Visayas.
“Moderate to strong winds blowing from the east and northeast will prevail over Luzon and Visayas with moderate to rough seas,” the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said in its 5 p.m. weather bulletin.
Environment Assistant Secretary Vic S. Paragas said divers have been deployed to the anchorage area within the park, where the vessel is stuck, to check the situation.
The Indonesian cargo vessel was bound for Harbor Center, a private wharf in Manila’s north harbor to deliver lumber from Malaysia. It has 17 people on board, who remain incommunicado save through radio.
Task Force MARLEN, a Sablayan-based multi-stakeholder enforcement group, with the PASU of Apo Reef Natural Park, have tried but failed to board the ship to investigate the incident because of big waves, according to WWF-Philippines.
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