10 Chinese fishers nabbed for ramming PCG-BFAR vessel

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Ten Chinese on board a fishing vessel marked “Subic” and flying the Philippine flag were arrested on Wednesday night after they rammed a ship of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in waters off Camiguin island in Cagayan Valley.

The Chinese ship bearing the numbers 0202 might have tried to sink the Coast Guard and BFAR vessel to avoid capture, according to Lt. Jeffrey Collado, commander of the monitoring, control and surveillance vessel 3010.

“At first glance, there was nothing irregular with the ship, but when we tried to communicate with them through radio, they did not answer,” he said.

At around 8 p.m. of May 25, the MCS 3010 spotted three vessels, Collado said.

“Two of the vessels turned off their lights and hurriedly left,” he said. “We no longer saw which direction they went.”

The Chinese steel-hulled vessel left a dent on the starboard or right side of the MCS 3010 after ramming it, Collado said.

MCS vessels are BFAR vessels jointly operated with the Coast Guard for illegal fishing operations.

BFAR Region 2 Quick Response Team head Rommel Diciano was with the Coast Guard. 

Collado then called MCS 3007 under the command  of Capt.  Allen Toribio.

At that time, MCS 3007 was headed to Babuyan Island, but upon receiving the call it immediately proceeded to Camiguin Island.

2-hour chase 

Toribio said the word “Subic” was merely spray painted on the Chinese fishing vessel which zigzagged in an apparent effort to lose the two MCS vessels.

“When our ship was positioned at the back of the Chinese fishing boat, our boarding team boarded the fishing boat and they crept toward the bridge of the fishing board and ordered the skipper to stop,” he said.

“There were other additional personnel who helped secure the fishing boat. Our men are used to boarding ships even at high speed.”

Toribio said to board the Chinese ship, they kept up with the speed of the other vessel.

The MCS ships then positioned themselves at each side of the Chinese vessel to “sandwich” it and force it to stop, he added.

It was only when they successfully boarded the vessel that they discovered the 10 Chinese on board.

They were brought to Port Irene in Cagayan for investigation even as poaching charges might be filed against them.

Toribio said that they are verifying if fragments of black coral were found on board the ship.

“If it would be confirmed that there were black corals on board, additional charges might be filed against them because black corals are considered endangered species,” he said.

“This would be a violation of the Convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora.”



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