A Chinese fishing vessel has allegedly rammed a Philippine fishing boat in the South China Sea, sank it, then sailed off, abandoning the 22 Filipino crew stranded on the high seas, until a Vietnamese fishing boat came to the rescue.
The collision has flared up tensions between China and the Philippines over the disputed waters issue.
Capt. Junel Insigne of the Philippine fishing boat F/B Gimver1 stated that the collision was not an accident.
“We were hit by a Chinese vessel,” said Insigne. When asked if he was sure they were Chinese, Insigne replied that the vessel that struck their boat is “the type of vessel that the Chinese use.”
The captain continued, “It was intentional,” adding, “If it was an accident, they should have helped us when they saw us sinking.”
Insigne stated that after their boat was hit, the other vessel turned back and returned to their ship, and turned on their searchlights. “When they saw our ship sinking, they turned off their lights and left,” said Insigne.
“We thought they will help after hitting us but they fled,” uttered Insigne.
Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana condemned the alleged actions of the Chinese fishing vessel for leaving the collision scene immediately and “abandoning the 22 Filipino crewmen to the mercy of the elements.”
Philippines foreign secretary said that an independent investigation—the International Maritime Organization, a UN agency—would conduct an investigation.
An opposition senator has requested President Rodrigo Duterte recall the Philippine ambassador and consuls in China and pressure Beijing to identify and punish the Chinese crew who were allegedly involved in the incident.
The Chinese communist regime condemned the incident, without immediately confirming or denying that a Chinese vessel was involved.
The sinking of the Philippine fishing boat has flared up tensions over the long-contested South China Sea, a waterway rich in natural resources. Five neighboring countries—Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, and Taiwan—have ongoing disputes with China over ownership claims of the sea and the islands.
Tensions erupted earlier when China converted seven disputed reefs into islands with the plan to serve as their military bases in the disputed waters.
The Chinese communist regime’s bold decision intimidate other claimant nations of the resource-rich South China Sea, a strategic waterway that the U.S. navy forces have undertaken to conduct “freedom of navigation” patrols.
Sinking of Philippine fishing boat flares up Sino-Philippine tension over disputed South China Sea.