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MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said on Saturday, December 16, that it has initiated an investigation into the December 5 incident involving a Chinese ship and a Filipino boat in Occidental Mindoro.
In a statement, the PCG said it is already coordinating with appropriate authorities for a “swift and comprehensive investigation” of the December 5 incident where Chinese-flagged MV Tai Hang 8 allegedly hit Filipino fishing boat FBCA Ruel J. in the waters near Paluan, Occidental Mindoro.
“The PCG, dedicated to resolving the incident, revealed that the MV TAI HANG 8 continued its voyage, leaving the damaged boat adrift,” the PCG said.
The Chinese ship was en route to Indonesia, sailed through the Philippines, from China. The PCG rescued five people who had been adrift for hours on their sinking boat following the incident.
Maritime services company and survey specialist Pandiman Philippines, Incorporated was appointed by the owners of the Chinese ship, Taihang Shipping Company Limited, for their probe. The survey conducted by the maritime services company was meant to “ascertain the cause, nature, and extent of alleged collision incident.”
The PCG said the survey specialist already visited their station in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, to facilitate official arrangements for the ocular inspection of the affected Filipino ship. It also assessed the damages to the starboard side outrigger of the Filipino boat.
“Preliminary findings were disclosed, and arrangements were made to compute the estimated damages, with a comprehensive report to be promptly submitted for further action,” the PCG said.
Following the incident, the PCG said earlier that it had reached out to China. On Saturday, the PCG said the owner of the Chinese ship and the “ambassador of China to the Philippines have likewise acknowledged receipt of the PCG’s official letter regarding the incident.”
The Mindoro incident was not the first time a Chinese ship hit a Filipino boat within the Philippines’ own waters.
In 2019, F/B Gem-Ver was rammed by Chinese ship Yuemaobinyu 42212, leaving a hole that caused the boat to sink from the rear. Retired Supreme Court senior associate justice Antonio Carpio said that was “the first sinking” of a Filipino vessel by a Chinese vessel in the West Philippine Sea.
The boat’s sinking became the most heated issue at the time, since the 2012 standoff between Philippine and Chinese ships in Panatag Shoal (Scarborough). The 2012 standoff prompted the Philippines to file a case against Beijing, which the Philippines won through an arbitral tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.
It was only in 2022 when the Gem-Ver fisherfolks received their P6-million compensation that settled the dispute between them and China after close to three years. – Rappler.com