On Wednesday, reports about a Filipino fishing vessel sinking at the Recto bank of the West Philippine Sea after colliding with a Chinese fishing vessel last Sunday, June 13 surfaced the internet.
The Reed Bank or Recto Bank, which is near Palawan, contains offshore gas reserves that both countries claim ownership of, despite it being located within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.
In an interview with the relative of the boat’s captain, the 22 Filipino crewmen were initially asleep when the incident happened around midnight. He added that the crewmen have no idea if whether the MS vessel warned them first-hand or if the collision was actually intentional.
“Biglaan na po ‘yun dahil hatinggabi, masarap ang tulog nila, wala na po silang naramdaman kung nag-warning ‘yung MS Vessel. Basta naano na lang po, nadisgrasya na po sila,” the relative said.
Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana condemns that said incident especially after the Chinese fishing boat abandoned the F/B Gimber 1, leaving at risk the lives of 22 Filipino crewmen. He said that a Vietnamese fishing boat happened to be sailing around the area and immediately coordinated with the Western Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The Filipino crewmen were then rescued by the BRP Ramon Alcaraz.
In a statement, Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Penetrante believes that the incident may be intentional because if it really is accidental, the Chinese crew should have stopped and assisted the Filipinos.
Malacañang deemed the act of the Chinese men as “uncivilized” and called for an investigation into the incident and the imposition of sanctions against the Chinese crew for abandoning the Filipino fishermen.