MANILA, Philippines – Philippine authorities rescued 5 fishermen after their vessel ran aground in heavy seas off Batanes, the Philippine Coast Guard announced on Wednesday, April 2.
PCG spokesperson Commander Armand Balilo said the PCG rescued two Taiwanese nationals and 3 Indonesians who manned Taiwanese fishing vessel (F/V) Jui Fa Tsai on Tuesday, April 1, 2014.
Heavy seas caused the vessel to run aground 16 nautical miles northeast off Itbayat Island, Batanes at 6:50 am on Tuesday. Coast District North Eastern Luzon received the information about the distressed vessel and deployed a team to the area.
The PCG said in a statement that “a Notice to All Mariners (NOTAM) was also issued to all ships/watercrafts transiting within the area of the incident to be on the look-out for possible sightings of the aground foreign vessel and to render necessary assistance.”
“PCG Batanes immediately sent a rescue team in the area while Taiwan Coast Guard immediately coordinated with PCG and the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs),” Balilo said.
Balilo said the crew members were rescued at 3:39 pm of the same day, while the vessel was extracted from its grounding position. The rescued fishermen, who were said to be be “good physical condition,” have returned to Taiwan.
The rescue of the fishermen comes almost a year after PCG personnel opened fire on a Taiwanese fishing boat allegedly poaching in Philippine waters, killing one fisherman in the process. The Department of Justice recommended the filing of homicide charges against the 8 personnel in March this year.
The Balintang channel incident strained relations between the Philippines and Taiwan, and left almost 16,000 Filipinos temporarily unemployed in 2013. – Rappler.com