June 12, 2019
Philippine and Chinese fishing vessels collided at Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea Sunday evening.
The Department of National Defense ( DND) said on Wednesday this was reported by Filipino fishermen who were rescued by a Vietnamese fishing boat.
''We denounce the action of the Chinese fishing vessel for immediately leaving the incident scene abandoning the 22 Filipino crewmen to the mercy of the elements,'' said the DND.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana called for an investigation.
In a statement, Lorenzana said based on the report of the Filipino fishermen, "F/B Gimver sank after it was hit by a Chinese fishing vessel on the evening of June 9, 2019.''
"The F/B Gimver 1 was anchored at the time when it was hit by the Chinese fishing vessel," he said.
"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 added.
Lorenzana said the Filipino fishermen were rescued by fishermen on board a Vietnamese fishing vessel within the area.
"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 (Armed Forces of the Philippines) Western Command," he said.
BRP Ramon Alcaraz, which was on a routine maritime patrol in the area, was ordered to assist in the recovery of F/B Gimver 1 and its crew, Lorenzana added.
Lorenzana expressed gratitude to the captain and crew of the Vietnamese fishing vessel while he condemned the Chinese fishermen who abandoned the Filipino fishermen.
"We thank the captain and crew of Vietnamese vessel, for saving the lives of the 22 Filipino crew," he said.
"However, we condemn in the strongest terms the cowardly action of the 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. Robina Asido/DMS
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