MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang asked Chinese authorities to investigate and sanction the crew of the Chinese fishing vessel that reportedly abandoned Filipino fishermen after a collision in Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo denounced the actions of the crew of the Chinese fishing vessel, calling their abandonment of the 22 Filipino fishermen aboard the boat they hit “uncivilized” and “outrageous.”
“The safety of the crew of the damaged Filipino vessel should have been the uppermost thought and helping them should have been the natural reaction of the crew of the other vessel,” Panelo added.
According to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the Filipino vessel F/B GIMVER 1 was anchored at the time of the collision on June 9.
Panelo said he supports Lorenzana who called for a probe on the incident, saying “diplomatic steps” have to be taken.
“It is a clear violation of maritime protocols as well as an infringement of internationally accepted practice of assisting a vessel in distress,” Panelo said in a statement on Thursday, June 13.
“We call on the appropriate Chinese authorities to probe the collision and impose the proper sanctions to the Chinese crew,” he added.
Malacañang further stressed that the present territorial conflict between the two countries should not have hindered the crew of the “offending vessel to lend a hand to the distressed crew.”
Panelo also expressed gratitude to the Vietnamese fishing vessel within the vicinity whose crew came to the rescue of the 22 Filipino fishermen.
Photo from the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson Facebook page