DFA files protest over Reed Bank collision

The Department of Foreign Affairs files a diplomatic protest following the collision incident between a Filipino fishing boat and a Chinese vessel at the Reed Bank over the weekend. CNN PHILIPPINES

MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) filed a diplomatic protest following the collision incident between a Filipino fishing boat and a Chinese vessel at the Reed Bank on Sunday.

DFA secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he already ordered the filing of protest on the incident in response to outgoing Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s tweet on Thursday.

“I fired off a diplomatic protest yesterday (Wednesday),” Locsin said, on Trillanes’ suggestion to refer the case to the Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

“The Maritime Safety Committee of the IMO is it; but, Sonny, that I will proceed on the merits of the case and what it calls for while the matter is studied by the IMO. Even our ally failed us in Scarborough, remember?” Locsin added.

The Maritime Situational Awareness Center – West received information on June 10 from FB 076’s boat captain that a Chinese fishing vessel collided with Filipino boat F/B GIMVER 1.

Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Penetrante, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command, said the incident may be intentional as the boat was anchored when it was hit by the Chinese vessel.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Malacañang has called for an investigation into the incident and the imposition of sanctions against the Chinese crew for abandoning Filipino fishermen.

“We call on the appropriate Chinese authorities to probe the collision and impose the proper sanctions to the Chinese crew,” Panelo said. “The appropriate government agencies have already extended assistance to the 22 Filipino crew rescued.”

“The act of abandonment, by those sailing the Chinese fishing vessel of 22 Filipino fishermen aboard their anchored and stationary watercraft hit by them, is uncivilized as it is outrageous,” he added.

“Regardless of the nature of the collision, whether it was accidental or intentional, common decency and the dictates of humanity require the immediate saving of the crew of the downed Philippine vessel,” Panelo said.

The Palace official added ensuring the safety of the crew of the damaged Philippine vessel and extending assistance should have been a natural reaction of the Chinese crew.

“The present territorial conflict between the countries of the two colliding vessels pertaining to the area where the collision occurred is not and cannot be an impediment for the offending vessel to lend a hand to the distressed crew,” Panelo said.

“The Captain and the crew of the Chinese vessel should not have left the injured party without any assistance or succor. Such act of desertion is inhuman as it is barbaric. It is a crystal-clear violation of maritime protocols as well as an infringement of internationally accepted practice of assisting a vessel in distress,” added Panelo./PN


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