Despite airing apologies, Chinese crew is still not exempted from the hit-and-run incident at the Recto Bank incident in the West Philippine Sea on June, according to Philippine Ambassador to Beijing Chito Sta. Romana.
Sta. Romana said that the owner of the Chinese ship should issue a ‘public apology’ on the incident that almost took the life of the 22 Filipino fishermen on board F/B Gem-Ver after the boat sank due to the collision and left them floating in the sea until they were rescued by a Vietnamese fishing boat.
The ambassador also demanded the Chinese Foreign Ministry to issue an apology on the said incident.
During his speech at the 121st anniversary of the Philippine Navy in Cavite, the President referred to the incident as plain “maritime incident.” He added that he refused to make any statement because the incident has yet to be investigated, therefore there is no result to comment or react to.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) made public on Wednesday, August 28, a portion of the letter from the Guangdong Fishery Mutual Insurance Association translated to English.
“The shipowner of the Chinese fishing boat involved, through our association, would like to express his sincere apology to the Filipino fishermen,” the letter read.
The association said that they feel deep regret over the accident and would like to express their deep sympathy to the 22 Filipino fishermen. They also found it fortunate that the collision resulted to no casualties.
The association added that they have come up with an accident investigation report after investigating the incident and asked for information from the shipowner, ship captain, and crew of the Chinese fishing boat.
The association said that they found that the Chinese fishing boat should take major responsibility over the accident even though it was an unintentional mistake.
The association also urged the Philippines to file a specific appeal for civil compensation based on the actual loss.
“Our Association will urge the shipowner of the fishing boat involved to actively coordinate with the Philippine side to expedite the latter’s claim for compensation according to the procedures for insurance claim,” the letter read.