In this photo by the Coast Guard District Palawan, MV Forever Lucky is shown in the water of Cagayancillo town where it ran aground on January 7, 2019. (Photo courtesy of CGDP)

A retrieval operation by the Coast Guard District Palawan (CGDP) is ongoing at press time in the waters of Cagayancillo town for the grounded ship MV Forever Lucky.

The vessel which recently figured in human smuggling controversy in Bataan ran aground on January 7 in the vicinity of Barangay Nusa, Cagayancillo.

Ensign Allison Tindog, the spokesperson of the CGDP, said the retrieval operation followed the rescue of the ship’s 17 crewmen.

He said they were rescued from the vessel at around 4 a.m. Wednesday.

“Ang ginawa ay nag-pumpboat ang mga barangay officials papunta doon sa area, nag-search and rescue (SAR) at nakuha na nila ang 17 crew ng vessel,” he said.

Tindog said MV Forever Lucky was on its way to General Santos from Bataan port for drydocking when it got beached in shallow waters.

He said the crewmen are now in Cagayancillo and are all safe.

“Okay na rin sila, doon na sila sa barangay, safe naman silang lahat. Then dadalhin dito ang mga crew sa Puerto at ‘yong vessel iimbestigahan pa, ia-assess pa bago hilahin. Actually, deadship na ‘to, doon sana siya magda-drydock sa General Santos kaya crew lang ang mga sakay niya,” he added.

He added an investigation will also be done to determine why the ship would run aground in Cagayancillo.

In July last year, MV Forever Lucky was stopped by port authorities in Orion, Bataan from leaving for Micronesia for allegedly smuggling 139 Filipinos to illegally work overseas.

When a probe team of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) boarded the vessel, they were able to confirm that the passengers had no documents to prove they can work abroad legally.