Statement of Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana on the Collision of a suspected Chinese and Filipino fishing vessels near Recto Bank

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A collision between a Chinese and Filipino vessel (F/B GIMVER 1) was reported by Filipino fishermen near the Recto Bank in the West Philippine on the evening of June 9, 2019. The collision sank the Filipino vessel.

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 1was anchored at the time when it was hit by the Chinese fishing vessel.

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 BRP  RamonAlcaraz, 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 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.

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.