Chinese ship hit, sank PH vessel in West PH Sea

Remigio Civitarese
Giugno 13, 2019

"The Maritime Safety Committee of the IMO (International Maritime Organization) is it", Foreign Affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin said in a tweet on Thursday noon.

"I take umbrage at the Chinese crew's act of leaving and abandoning the Filipino crew after their boat collided with the latter's vessel and sank near the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea last Sunday", Gordon said in a statement.

The Philippine defense chief will recommend Manila file a strongly worded diplomatic protest after a fishing boat was hit in the disputed South China Sea by a suspected Chinese vessel that abandoned the 22 Filipino fishermen as their boat sank.

Lorenzana himself called the Chinese seafearer's actions as something not expected from "a responsible and friendly people".

Also known as Reed Bank, the underwater feature in the West Philippine Sea is claimed by both the Philippines and China.

The Philippines and China have always been involved in a maritime dispute over territories in the West Philippine Sea. Tensions have escalated in recent years after China transformed seven disputed reefs into islands which can serve as forward military bases and can intimidate rival claimant states. After the collision, the boat left the scene and a nearby Vietnamese vessel rescued the crew.

"The present territorial conflict between the countries of the two colliding vessels pertaining to the area where the collision occurred, is not - and cannot be an impediment for the offending vessel to lend a hand to the distressed crew", Presidential Spokersperson Salvador Panelo said.

"We call on the appropriate Chinese authorities to probe the collision and impose the proper sanctions to the Chinese crew", he added, calling it a violation of maritime protocols.

Defence Secretary Teodoro Locsin Junior went further describing the actions as "contemptible and condemnable" before adding the incident would be "the basis of enhanced military cooperation between The Philippines and Vietnam".

It is believed the vessel that hit the anchored F/B GIMVER 1 was a Chinese fishing ship.

The incident occured on June 9, which happened to be the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day. Officials have said what the Chinese vessel did was not how supposed allies should treat each other. Though details remain unclear, the incident and its fallout threatened to rock relations between China and the Philippines despite warming ties that had been underway initially under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Gordon also noted that the Chinese vessel violated several laws which require vessels to help the other ship in case of a collision - something which he hopes every seafarer around the world would honor and understand.

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