Cagayan police officers
and health workers board one of four Chinese vessels docked at the Port of Aparri yesterday on suspicion of illegally transporting black sand and to check the crew for symptoms of coronavirus disease. Photo courtesy of Aparri police chief Capt. Mario Maraggun.
TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan – An inter-agency team is now investigating four Chinesenamed vessels that docked at the Port of Aparri in this province last Thursday for suspected black sand mining and the possible risk of spreading the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba said the team is composed of officers from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Maritime Police and the local government of Aparri, represented by municipal health officer Rowena Guzman-Marantan.
The team was deployed yesterday to inspect the activities of the vessels Xiang Yueng Huo (Silk Road) 12, 13, 14 and 16, which are mastered by Violeto Batallones, Narceso Sales, Xu Meng Si and Li Bin Hua, respectively.
Mamba said the vessels’ crewmembers would undergo medical examination for possible COVID-19.
Mamba cited reports that the watercraft, which all originated from the Port of Sta. Cruz, Zambales, are “dredger vessels.”
He said the vessels are allegedly owned by the Riverfront Construction Inc., with business address at Unit 101 Diamond Tower, 81 Mariveles St., Mandaluyong City and represented by Feng Li, its president and CEO.
Riverfront was one of the companies subjected to an inquiry by the Cagayan Provincial Board in August last year when it investigated alleged black sand mining operations in Aparri in the guise of dredging the sea port.