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DND: Chinese ship hit, sank PH vessel in West PH Sea

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense (DND) on Wednesday revealed that a Philippine boat sank on Sunday night (June 9) following a collision with a Chinese vessel in the waters off the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana denounced the actions of the Chinese fishing vessel for leaving the scene immediately after the collision, endangering the lives of 22 Filipino fishermen onboard the F/B GIMVER1.

“We denounce the actions of the Chinese fishing vessel for immediately leaving the scene of the incident, abandoning the 22 Filipino crewmen to the mercy of the elements,” Lorenzana said.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the cowardly action of the suspected Chinese fishing vessel and its crew for abandoning the Filipino crew. This is not the expected action from a responsible and friendly people,” he added.

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

A Vietnamese fishing vessel in the area rescued the Filipino crew in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command.

“We thank the captain and crew of Vietnamese vessel, for saving the lives of the 22 Filipino crew,” the defense chief said.

The BRP Ramon Alcaraz, which was in the area for a routine maritime patrol, has been tasked to assist in the recovery of the vessel and its crew.

Lorenzana also called for a formal investigation into the incident and requested concerned agencies to take diplomatic steps against China.

“We call for the conduct of a formal investigation on the matter and for diplomatic steps be taken to prevent a repeat of this incident,” he said.

The Philippines and China have long been involved in a maritime dispute over territories in the West Philippine Sea.

READ: Duterte tells China: Back off from Pag-asa island

Hundreds of suspected Chinese maritime militia boats have also been spotted in the disputed waterways in the past months, which have made headlines amid the territorial row between Manila and Beijing.

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22 Filipino crew in Recto Bank collision on their way home

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019

The 22 Filipino fishermen in the Recto Bank collision held a press briefing aboard a ship en route to Mindoro| Courtesy: Sec. Manny Piñol’s Facebook page

The 22 crew of the Filipino fishing boat that was allegedly hit by a Chinese ship near Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea are on their way home to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

They are expected to arrive in their hometown on Saturday, according to the report of UNTV News and Rescue correspondent Sherwin Culubong.

Although none sustained injuries, the crew will undergo medical checkup and debriefing upon their arrival in San Jose.

They will also be asked to give statements on what really happened at the Recto Bank (also called Reed Bank) on the night of June 9.

Defense Secretary Lorenzana on June 12 bared that a suspected Chinese fishing vessel hit and sank Filipino boat, F/B GIMVER 1.

READ: DND: Chinese vessel hit, sank PH vessel in Recto Bank

He denounced the actions of the alleged Chinese crew for leaving the scene and abandoning the Filipino crew at sea.

Lorenzana also expressed gratitude to a Vietnamese crew in the area who came to the aid of Filipinos.

The family of one of the Filipino fishermen also thanked the Vietnamese crew for their swift action.

“Malaki po ang pasasalamat namin, kahit hindi natin sila kaano [kalahi] pero tinulungan po sila,” said Maria Fe dela Torre, whose husband owns the boat that collided with the foreign vessel.

They also expressed hope that the Duterte government will seriously investigate the incident and give justice to the Filipino crewmen.

“Ang unang reaksyon namin nagulat, nataranta kami tapos galit kasi bakit di nila tinulungan tao namin? Nakita nila na lumulubog,” said May dela Torre, kin of one of the fishermen, when asked about their initial reaction upon learning about the incident.

“Kasi kung ‘di talaga nila sinasadya or aksidente talaga, kung tao sila, titigilan mo, tutulungan mo. Wala eh. Umalis sila eh. Iba ang nagrescue sa kanila,” she added.

Lorenzana earlier said that China has been informed about the incident and a probe has already been launched.

He also said they are now verifying if the fishing vessel that hit and sank the F/B GIMVER 1 belonged to China.

READ: DND: PH verifying if ship in West PH Sea collision belonged to China

Malacañang earlier called on Beijing to impose proper sanctions against the Chinese crewmen for their “uncivilized” and “outrageous” actions.

READ: PH wants China to sanction ship crew for sinking Filipino fishing boat

The Philippine government also said it is ready to sever its ties with China should it be proven that the Filipino fishing boat was intentionally hit.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin has assured that a diplomatic protest has been filed over the collision incident.

READ: Locsin files diplomatic protest vs China after West PH Sea collision

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture assured to provide assistance to the Filipino fishermen and to their families.

“Puwede kaming tumulong na maipa-repair at temporarily mawalan ng hanapbuhay ‘yung mga mangingisda. Pwede naming tulungan, mayroon kaming mga loaning program for them,” said Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol.

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China holds ‘serious’ investigation on sea collision in Recto Bank

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019

The Chinese government is conducting its own investigation on the sea collision that involved Chinese crewmen abandoning Filipino fishermen after the former hit the latter’s fishing boat in the evening of June 9 in Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea.

Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua in a text message to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the issue “is being thoroughly and seriously investigated.”

“We share your concerns about fishermen,” Zhao said.

“If it were true that it was a Chinese fishing boat which did it, they would be duly educated and punished for their irresponsible behavior. Incidents happen even in the best-regulated family,” he added.

The Chinese Ambassador also hopes that the incident will be held in a ‘proper context’.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang, meanwhile, said what happened was just ‘an ordinary maritime accident’.

He acknowledged, however, that abandoning a person in dire need of rescue is unacceptable.

“If the relevant situation turns out to be true, irrespective of which country the perpetrators come from, abandoning (others) should be condemned,” he said.

“China will continue to investigate this incident based on its responsible attitude towards the physical safety and safety of property of the people of both countries and will work with the Philippine side to properly handle,” he concluded.

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PH, US, Japan and India navies sail for maritime cooperative activity

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, May 10th, 2019

The Philippine Navy patrol vessel, BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS17) joined in the quadrilateral sail together with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force vessel, JS Izumo (DDH-183) and JS Murasame (DD-101), Indian Navy Ships, INS Kolkata (D63) and Shakti (A57), and the United States Pacific Fleet vessel, USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110). | Photo credit: Philippine Navy

The Philippines, United States (US), Japan, and India navies sailed together in the South China Sea as part of the maritime cooperative activity.

This is the first phase of the ASEAN-Plus Defense Ministers’ Meeting Maritime Security Field Training Exercise (ADMM-Plus MARSEC FTX) 2019 in Busan, Republic of Korea.

The Philippine Navy patrol vessel, BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS17) joined in the quadrilateral sail together with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force vessel, JS Izumo (DDH-183) and JS Murasame (DD-101), Indian Navy Ships, INS Kolkata (D63) and Shakti (A57), and the United States Pacific Fleet vessel, USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110). 

According to Captain Roy Vincent T. Trinidad, who is leading the Philippine Navy delegation for the ADMM-Plus maritime exercise, “The group sail showed the active participation of the Philippine Navy as it strengthens its relationships with allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region. This gives us another opportunity to learn from like-minded navies.”

For the week-long transit, the ships conducted a series of training exercises and social interactions.

The ships will transit through the West Philippine Sea where the conduct of “freedom of safe navigation” is applied in support of a rules-based international system benefiting all countries.

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