Philippines slams sinking of boat by suspected China vessel

13 Juin, 2019, 10:11 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Senator Francis Escudero Escudero Official Facebook page  MANILA BULLETIN

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier reported that a collision between the two vessels near Recto Bank on June 9 resulted in the sinking of the Filipino fishing boat.

"This is not the expected action from a responsible and friendly people", he said.

The area is seen as a potential flash point and tensions have risen in recent years because of China's building there of artificial islands and installation of weapons that could be used to intimidate other claimant countries. Per the statement, the vessel, which came from Occidental Mindoro, had 22 fishermen on board, was rescued by a Vietnamese fishing vessel.

According to Lorenzana, the F/B GIMVER1 was anchored at the time when it was hit by the Chinese fishing vessel.

"There are laws like the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea or SOLAS and Article 98 of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS that mandate vessels, especially after a collision, to render assistance to the other ship, its crew and its passengers, and where possible, to inform the other ship of the name of his own ship, its port of registry and the nearest port at which it will call", he pointed out.

Gordon also said that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) should ensure that Filipino fishermen are adequately protected especially in the highly-disputed region.

"The Philippine Coast Guard should always be in position in that area".

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Lorenzana told The Associated Press on Thursday, "A strongly worded diplomatic protest is in order" and added that the Filipino fishermen say the vessel that hit theirs was Chinese. The mostly left-wing activists timed their protest for Philippine Independence Day.

The incident comes as Duterte's warming of ties with China continues to come under growing scrutiny in the Philippines, including with respect to the South China Sea.

A Filipino official said a Philippine vessel on its way to provide the marines at Second Thomas Shoal with food and other supplies was approached by a Chinese ship "in a close encounter" in February.

The country claims Reed Bank as part of the province of Palawan, as it is only 85 nautical miles away from Philippine shores.

The Philippine military had said it monitored more than 600 Chinese ships near Pag-asa Island since January of this year.

China's coast guard and military tried to block such resupply missions in the past but later allowed them through after talks with Philippine officials amid better relations between Beijing and Manila under current President Rodrigo Duterte.

In 2011, the Philippines accused Chinese vessels of harassing an exploration vessel off Reed Bank.

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