By Francis Wakefield
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana Wednesday said that an accidental collision between a Chinese and Filipino vessel was reported by Filipino fishermen near the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea on the evening of June 9, 2019.
The collision sank the Filipino fishing boat F/B GIMVER 1.
In a statement, Lorenzana denounced the actions of the Chinese fishing vessel for immediately leaving the incident scene and abandoning 22 Filipino crewmen to the mercy of the elements after it accidentally collided with the Filipino fishing vessel.
According to a report, GIMVER 1 was anchored at the time when it was hit by the Chinese fishing vessel.
Fortunately, a Vietnamese fishing vessel was in the vicinity and rescued all 22 fishermen and brought them to safety in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Command (AFP-WestCom).
The Defense chief said BRP Ramon Alcaraz, which was conducting a routine maritime patrol in the area, was ordered to assist in the recovery of F/B GIMVER 1 and its crew.
“We thank the captain and crew of Vietnamese vessel, for saving the lives of the 22 Filipino crewmen. However, we condemn in the strongest terms the cowardly action of the Chinese fishing vessel and its crew for abandoning the Filipino crew. This is not the expected action from a responsible and friendly people,” Lorenzana said
“We call for the conduct of a formal investigation on the matter and for diplomatic steps be taken to prevent a repeat of this incident,” he added.