Carpio: Filipinos must demand compensation, punishment on sinking of Philippine boat

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Carpio: Filipinos must demand compensation, punishment on sinking of Philippine boat
This photo shows the 22 fishermen who were abandoned at sea after their fishing boat was sunk by a Chinese vessel.
Philippine Coast Guard, Released

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos must demand compensation from China over the sinking of a Philippine fishing boat by a Chinese fishing vessel, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said. 

In a statement late Friday, Carpio, one of the staunchest defenders of the West Philippine Sea, said the ramming of the Fishing Boat Gem-Vir 1 is a “quantum escalation of China’s aggressive acts against the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea.”

“This may signal the start of a new ‘gray zone’ offensive by China to drive away Filipino fishing vessels in the West Philippine Sea, in the same way the China is driving away Vietnamese fishing vessels in the Paracels,” Carpio said.

The high court’s most senior justice also urged Filipinos to take a “strong” stand against the latest “aggressive” act of China.

“The Filipino people must demand from China compensation for the owner of F/B Gem-Vir 1 and punishment for the captain and crew of the Chinese vessel that rammed in hit-and-run fashion F/B Gem-Vir 1,” Carpio said.

He added: “The Filipino people must send a strong signal to China that any new ‘gray zone’ offensive of ramming Filipino fishing vessels in the West Philippine Sea will mean a break of diplomatic ties with China.”

Chinese maritime militia

Carpio said it is “highly likely” that a Chinese maritime militia vessel rammed the Filipino fishing boat, noting that Chinese maritime militias have history of ramming Vietnamese vessels in the Paracels.

“China’s maritime militia vessels have reinforced steel hulls purposely for ramming fishing vessels of other coastal states. No other coastal state has fishing vessels purposely designed for ramming other fishing vessels. Captains of ordinary Chinese fishing vessels do not engage in ramming for fear of inflicting damage to their own vessels,” he said.

Carpio made the statement after China admitted that a Chinese vessel fishing was involved in the incident. The Chinese Embassy, however, denied it was a case of “hit and run” in a statement that has since been deleted.

The Supreme Court justice also said the incident prevented Filipino fishermen from fishing within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone and violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

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