Philippine Coast Guard

Coast Guard calls China after cargo ship allegedly hits Filipino fishing boat

Bea Cupin

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Coast Guard calls China after cargo ship allegedly hits Filipino fishing boat

RESCUED. The Philippine Coast Guard and fisherfolk help 5 Filipinos whose fishing vessel was allegedly hit by the much larger bulk carrier MV Tai Hang 8 in waters off Occidental Mindoro on December 5, 2023.

Coast Guard District Southern Tagalog

Five Filipinos were rescued by the PCG and fisherfolk after they were allegedly hit – and left behind – by the MV Tai Hang 8

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has reached out and is communicating with China, following an alleged allision between a small Filipino fishing boat, the FBCA Ruel J, and a Chinese-flagged bulk carrier in a province in Luzon island, south of Manila.

The Ruel J was allegedly hit by the MV Tai Hang 8 at around 4 pm on December 5, Tuesday, while it was attached to a payao, or a traditional fishing device, some 25 nautical miles off the coastal town of Paluan, Occidental Mindoro province.

“The ill-fated fishing banca Ruel J and its crew, alleged reportedly hit by MV Tai Hang 8, and was said to be left adrift as the foreign vessel continued its voyage unknowingly,” said the PCG’s initial release on the incident.

Allision refers to an incident at sea when a vessel hits a stationary object – in this case, the FBCA Ruel J.

The five fisherfolk on board the Ruel J were rescued by the PCG on December 6. The damaged vessel was towed back to shore by another fishing boat, the Banca Joker, and assisted by fishing vessels Banca Precious Heart and Fishing Banca Jaschene.

In an interview on DZBB, PCG spokesperson Rear Admiral Armand Balilio said the MV Tai Hang 8’s flag state, China, has already been informed of the incident.

Communication with both China and the Chinese company that owns the boat is meant to establish the circumstances surrounding the alleged allision.

Balilio pointed out that according to laws and norms of the sea, it would have been the MV Tai Hang 8’s responsibility to rescue the crew of the Ruel J. The incident happened at 4 pm, meaning the sun was still out.

Balilio pointed out that vessels should have lookouts and take extra measures to avoid collisions or allisions.

The PCG spokesperson said they could not yet determine, as of posting, if the hit was done on purpose or an accident. The MV Tai Hang 8 was en route to Indonesia, through the Philippines, from China.

Any possible proceedings against the crew of the MV Tai Hang 8 would take place in China, since it’s the flag state, said Balilio. He said there should be talks between counterparts of the two countries, typically to ensure that victims receive compensation due them.

“We now are coordinating with the flag state. May existing protocols tayo (We have existing protocols) to go after maritime offenders. Any users of our seas, if they commit offense in our waters, we will go after them, anywhere in the world, through the existing protocols that we have with other Coast Guards,” said PCG Commandant Admiral Ronnie Gavan in a separate interview with GMA News. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.