Chinese boat runs aground on Tubbataha

Rappler.com
The Chinese boat was carrying 12 Chinese nationals

DAMAGED. A coral rubble in Tubbataha reef. Photo by WWF-Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – A Chinese fishing boat ran aground on Tubbataha Reef Monday night, April 8, according to reports reaching Rappler early Tuesday, April 9.

A report reaching the Department of Transportation and Communications said that “on or about 11:40pm, April 8,” a Chinese fishing boat with “12 persons on board” ran aground at “1.1 NM east of Ranger Station, Tubbataha Reefs.”

Tubbataha park superintendent Angelique Songco confirmed the report in a text message to Rappler.

She’s now on her way to the area on board a Philippine Navy plane to conduct an aerial inspection of the vessel.

READ: Coast guard wants to refloat Chinese vessel in Tubbataha

A Philippine Navy ship was dispatched to the area last night to check the Chinese boat and interview the passengers.

The incident happened as the diving season in the area peaks.

It also occurred more than a week after salvage teams removed from Tubbataha the USS Guardian, which was stuck in the area for more than 10 weeks. The USS Guardian damaged about 2,345.67 square meters of the reef when it ran aground the Unesco World Heritage site on January 17. This would mean a fine of about P58-M. (Read: US Navy faces P58-M fine over Tubbataha)

A US ship, in fact, is still in the area as part of the salvage team. American troops were scheduled to leave Tubbataha Tuesday, April 9, according to Songco.

Another ship belonging to the World Wildlife Fund also happens to be in the area since it took part in the inspection of the damage caused by USS Guardian. – Rappler.com

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