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North Koreans rescued off Cagayan entered RP as legal aliens

January 3, 2010 12:16am
Twenty-two North Koreans who were rescued off Cagayan shores last week had entered the Philippines as legal aliens, according to a local government official of the province.

Claveria town Vice Mayor Yuserfino Agra said in an interview with a radio station on Saturday that the North Koreans, who had abandoned their listing ship and reached Claveria through a life raft, were able to present working permits to Philippine immigration officials.

Region II police director Chief Superintendent Roberto Damian also confirmed that all 22 men had worked for cargo ship MV Nam Yang 8, which was properly registered with a Chinese company.

“They are all from North Korea but they are properly documented since North Koreans also work in different countries just like our overseas Filipino workers," said Damian.

Quoting reports from the Philippine Coast Guard, the Associated Press (AP) said the Nam Yang 8, loaded with a low-grade iron ore called magnetite, left the northern Philippine province of Aparri late Thursday and was en route to China when it encountered large waves and began to list off Claveria.

The AP said that when the 3,461-ton ship's engine lost power, its skipper ordered his crew to abandon ship. The vessel drifted and later ran aground in nearby Ilocos Norte province. - Floro Taguinod, GMANews.TV