Tragedy off the coastal northern Luzon province leaves one fisherman dead, four missing
Manila: President Benigno Aquino vowed to file a case against a foreign ship which rammed a Philippine vessel leaving one fisherman dead, four missing, and three injured in the South China Sea, off the coastal northern Luzon province last Sunday, sources said.
“If there was a ramming incident and the people in the ship were abandoned [off Bolinao, Pangasinan], that was a clear violation of the laws governing the seas. We can go to the appropriate fora to file the necessary charges for justice for our fishermen,” Aquino said during the oath taking of new party members in northern Luzon, the transcript of which reached Malacanang, the presidential palace.
Meanwhile, Coast Guard commandant vice-admiral Edmund Tan told DZBB that a Hong Kong maritime vessel hit the 25-metre long AXL John, a Philippine fishing vessel which the fishermen tied to a fish aggregating device near a reef during a storm off northern Luzon on June 20.
The incident happened quite far from the Scarborough Shoal, off Subic in central Luzon, where Philippines and China were engaged in a standoff (over contested claims) since April, said Tan.
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But Chinese Embassy spokesperson Zhang Hua said in a statement on his embassy’s website, “Up until now, there have been no reports of vessel collision accident or SOS requests on the reported dates and in the reported waters.”
Calling on reporters to be careful in identifying the ship that was being blamed for the sea mishap, Zhang said, “We wonder what that news story was based upon. We hope relevant persons can verify the facts with a responsible attitude before they report.”
AXL John left Bolinao, Pangasinan province on June 18 and was reported to have sunk near the northern area of Pangasinan on June 20.
Aquino said he will be meeting with the three rescued fishermen, Edimio S. Balmores, 40, Herman C. Balmores, 51, and Celino V. Damian, 32, who drifted to northern Luzon’s Vigan province and were brought to Gabriela Silang hospital in Vigan City Saturday. They were found about 100 kilometres away from Bolinao where they originated. They had returned to their home in Bolinao over the weekend.
Assistance will be extended to the families of the missing and the injured, said Aquino.
Christopher Carbonel, 32, was one of the four fishermen rescued off Vigan on June 23, but he died later in hospital. Carbonel allegedly told the fishing boat’s owner Jonalyn Honrado, that a Chinese vessel was responsible for the mishap, Bolinao mayor Alfonso Celeste said in a radio interview.
Aquino also called for the continuation of operation to rescue four fishermen, identified as Fred Celino, Arnold Garcia, Domy de los Santoas, Amante Resonable.
“We are hopeful that the collision was not intentional,” Assistant Secretary Benito Ramos, also head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.
View post: Aquino vows to file case against foreign ship – gulfnews.com(source)
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