(Eagle News) – The Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) “denounced the actions of a Chinese fishing vessel” which hit a Philippine vessel that had 22 Filipino crewmen, abandoning them after the incident.
The event was reported to the DND on June 9, said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and the Filipino vessel that was hit was “anchored at the time” of the collision.
Lorenzana “condemned in the strongest terms” what he termed as “the cowardly action” of the Chinese fishing vessel.
The collision was between a Chinese and Filipino vessel (F/B GIMVER 1) which was reported by Filipino fishermen near the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea on the evening of June 9.
“The collision sank the Filipino vessel,” Lorenzana said in a statement.
“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. The F/B GIMVER 1 was anchored at the time when it was hit by the Chinese fishing vessel,” he said.
“Fortunately, a Vietnamese fishing vessel was in the vicinity and rescued all 22 fishermen and brought them to safety in coordination with the AFP’s Western Command,” the defense chief said.
Lorenzana said that the “BRP Ramon Alcaraz, which was conducting a routine maritime patrol in the area, was ordered to assist in the recovery of F/B GIMVER 1 and its crew.”
“We thank the captain and crew of Vietnamese vessel, for saving the lives of the 22 Filipino crew. However, we condemn in the strongest terms the cowardly action of the suspected Chinese fishing vessel and its crew for abandoning the Filipino crew,” he said.
“This is not the expected action from a responsible and friendly people.”
Lorenzana also called for a “formal investigation on the matter and for diplomatic steps be taken to prevent a repeat of this incident.”