The owner of the Vietnamese boat who offered a hand to the 22 Filipino fishermen after the collision believed that “anyone who heads out to sea would have done the same thing, not just us.”
In an article published on a Vietnamese website, boat owner Ngo Van Theng recalled the incident how the incident escalated on June 9, Sunday. He said that their captain Nguyen Thanh Tam and the crew members were awakened by “voices of foreigners” around 1 AM on June 10.
Using a flashlight, Theng said that their captain saw two small boats approaching their area, onboard were people waving their hands as a sign of help while pointing towards the Recto Bank. Despite the fear that the two men might be pirates, Tam decided to head on to the direction the Filipino fishermen were pointing to, adding that it took them an hour of sea travel before reaching the area.
In there, the Vietnamese crew found the other fishermen who are wearing life jackets near the bank, clinging on to “plastic barrels and pieces of wood.” As reports and the joint testimony of the Filipino crew, the Vietnamese fishermen took them on their boat fed them rice and instant noodles while they took some rest.
“After working as a fisherman for many years, this is the first time that my family’s ship has rescued another vessel, especially a foreign ship. I believe that anyone who heads out to sea would have done the same thing, not just us,” Theng said.
Reports also said that around 5 AM, the Filipino crew from the destroyed FB GEM-VER borrowed a radio to inform its sister boat in the area about the situation. They were picked up around 2 PM on the same day.
On Wednesday, Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that a Filipino fishing vessel sank at the Recto bank of the West Philippine Sea after colliding with a Chinese fishing vessel.