Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad stressed that the Chinese vessel rammed the Philippine fishing boat anchored near Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea.
Philippine Navy/Released
'Not an ordinary accident': Navy stresses Philippine ship was rammed
( - June 14, 2019 - 4:29pm

MANILA, Philippines — Contradicting the pronouncement of Beijing on the collission of a suspected Chinese and Philippine vessels in the West Philippine Sea, the Philippine Navy claimed that the Philippine boat was rammed.

Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad pointed out that fishing vessel F/B GIMVER 1 was anchored when the incident occurred.

Citing the International Rules of the Road, Empedrad said the anchored Philippine boat should have been privileged as it could not evade the collision.

"The ship was rammed. This is not a normal maritime accident," Empedrad said.

The Navy chief stressed that anchored and stationary ships should not be rammed.

"Makikita mo 'yan sa radar na 'di gumagalaw 'yung barko. So 'pag 'di gumagalaw 'yung barko, bakit mo babanggain?" Empedrad said.

For Empedrad, it is more important to condemn the questionable actions of the Chinese vessel for abandoning the 22 Filipino crewmen after their watercraft was hit.

The Navy chief also noted that the area where the collision happened is within Philippine exclusive economic zone and not on disputed territory.

The Navy, however, was unable to confirm if the offending vessel was part of China's maritime militia.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, said there was no doubt that the boat of the Filipino fishermen were definitely rammed by the Chinese vessel following the pronouncements of Empedrad.

"Even if it was an accidental collision as claimed by their spokesperson, it will not mitigate the criminal offense of abandoning our people to die in the high seas," Lacson said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuan earlier said the incident was "an ordinary maritime traffic incident" and called the Philippines "irresponsible" for supposedly politicizing the issue.

Geng, however, said the behavior of the perpetrator should be condemned regardless of the country where it came from.

According to Lacson, such admonition from Beijing not to politicize the incident should call for a "hard punitive action after the conduct of an investigation by the Chinese government against those crew, whoever they are." — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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