Pimentel: Rescue of people in distress at sea an “obligation” under int’l maritime law, a “humanitarian duty”

(Eagle News)–Senator Koko Pimentel condemned what he said was the act of abandonment by a Chinese vessel of 22 Filipino fishermen whose boat was sinking after a collision with the former.

In a statement, Pimentel said  under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), ” there is a general obligation to proceed to the assistance of ships in distress.”

“No matter who was at fault, the crew of a sinking ship must never be abandoned by an able ship. The rescue of all persons in distress at sea is not only an obligation under international maritime law, it is also a matter of humanitarian duty,” added  Pimentel.

Pimentel expressed support for the filing of a diplomatic protest, adding that “logic dictates that such duty becomes more pronounced if it is your ship that caused the distress.”

“We thank the crew of the Vietnamese vessel that assisted our fellow Filipinos to safety. They must be commended for responding to the call of duty,” Pimentel said.