In a report in the Saigon Times, Nguyen Thant Tam, skipper of the Vietnamese ship TGTG-90983-TS, said he saw the Filipino fishermen soaking wet and shivering and realized that “they might have had an accident at sea.”
Vietnam skipper narrates rescue
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - June 20, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The captain of the Vietnamese ship yesterday corroborated the story of the 22 Filipino fishermen who were rescued near Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea after their boat was hit by a Chinese vessel on June 9.

In a report in the Saigon Times, Nguyen Thant Tam, skipper of the Vietnamese ship TGTG-90983-TS, said he saw the Filipino fishermen soaking wet and shivering and realized that “they might have had an accident at sea.”

At first, he said, he feared that the fishermen were pirates but as the men continued waving their hands, he realized that they were asking for help.

The fishermen on F/B Gem-Vir 1 said they were abandoned by the Chinese vessel after it hit their boat.

Tam said they found the fishermen wearing life jackets and clinging to plastic barrels and pieces of wood from the shipwreck. They rescued the Filipinos and gave them rice, noodles and clothes.

The Philippines has brought to the United Nations the sinking of the Filipino boat by the Chinese ship and the latter’s abandoning the fishermen at sea, saying it is a “felony to abandon people in distress.”

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. called on United Nations members to enforce their duty under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to render assistance to persons in distress at sea. 

Speaking at the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of UNCLOS at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Monday, Locsin stressed that the “duty to render assistance” is found in UNCLOS and in the International Maritime Organization’s International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.

Locsin said the Filipino crew were left in the water until a Vietnamese vessel took them on board. “We are eternally grateful, we are eternally in debt to our strategic partner, Vietnam, for this act of mercy and decency.”

FILIPINO FISHERMEN IN RECTO BANK
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