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GemVer fishers left at sea by Chinese vessel to finally get compensation after nearly 3 years

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
GemVer fishers left at sea by Chinese vessel to finally get compensation after nearly 3 years
This file photo shows the fishermen who were abandoned at sea after their fishing boat was sunk by a Chinese vessel.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 3:37 p.m.) — It took nearly three years, but the 22 fishers of FB GemVer, the boat that was sunk by a Chinese vessel and abandoned at sea, will finally get their compensation.

"I confirm that there has been a final settlement of the damage claims of the Gem-Ver fishermen against the owners of the Chinese vessel," Guevarra told reporters in a message.

"The agreed compensation is P6 million. I understand that the owner of FB Gem-Ver will receive the amount on behalf of the fishermen and himself," he added.

The compensation is just half of what prosecutors set in September 2020.

Back then, they set P12 million or nearly $250,000 as payment to the fishermen to cover repair costs, lost income and civil and moral damages.

No other details on the settlement are available at the moment.

Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay also confirmed that the “parties have reached an agreement” but declined to give more details.

“The [Department of Foreign Affairs] will issue an official statement on the matter in the coming days,” he added. 

A Chinese vessel hit the GemVer on June 9,2019 and left the Filipino crew in distress. The GemVer crew was rescued by a passing Vietnamese vessel.

The incident drew public outrage in the Philippines despite President Rodrigo Duterte playing it down as a "little maritime accident".

CHINA

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

GEMVER 1

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 8, 2022 - 2:34pm

Updates in the aftermath of the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a suspected Chinese trawler.

June 8, 2022 - 2:34pm

Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay says fishermen and boat owner of F/BGem-Ver, the boat sunk by a Chinese vessel and abandoned at sea in 2019, received their P6 million compensation on May 16.

April 28, 2022 - 2:18pm

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirms "there has been a final settlement of the damage claims of the Gem-Ver fishermen against the owners of the Chinese vessel." — Kristine Joy Patag

May 24, 2021 - 3:54pm

The Philippines and China discussed the issue of compensation for the owner and crew of F/B Gem-Ver 1 — a fishing boat that was damaged and then sank in 2019 after an allision with a Chinese fishing vessel in the Recto Bank area of the West Philippine Sea — last week, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra says.

"The [Department of Justice] will lead a small group (DOJ, [Foreign Affairs], [Agriculture/Bureau of Fisheries and Aquartic Resources) to put a close to this festering issue," he says, adding they will meet with their Chinese counterparts on June 2 and 7.

 "As far as the Filipino fishermen are concerned, it is important that they recover fully their expenses for the boat repair and the income they lost while the boat was under repair," he also says.

September 24, 2019 - 9:43am

A philanthropist from Shanghai has turned over a commercial fishing vessel to replace F/B Gem-Ver 1, which was damaged and sank in the the Recto Bank allision in June, columnist and special envoy Ramon Tulfo says in a press release. 

"The fishing boat, christened as F/B Pengyou, replaced the F/B Gem-Ver 1 that was sunk at Recto Bank in the South China Sea," the Office of the Special Envoy for Public Diplomacy to China says. Recto Bank is part of the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

Tulfo says Xue Chengbuao, a tycoon from Shanghai, turned over the the boat in a ceremony in San Jose, Mindoro Occidental on Sunday.

"F/B Pengyou is 17 meters long and 1.6 meters wide. It weighs 10.6 tons and has a Fuso engine with 160 hp," Tulfo's office also says.

"Pengyou" is Mandarin Chinese for friend.

July 8, 2019 - 1:04pm

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo says there is no contradiction in the Philippine Coast Guard's report that the June 9 Recto Bank incident is a “very serious maritime casualty” and President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier statement that the incident was a "little maritime incident."

"It's serious in the sense that when you leave our countrymen there then that's a serious matter," Panelo explains, adding that even if it is a serious matter "you cannot blow that and make it into an international crisis."

He adds the Philippines will "definitely" seek accountability from China over the allision that sank F/B Gem-Ver 1.

He says China will be the one to decide on how it should deal with or make accountable the crew of the Chinese vessel that left 22 Filipino fishermen after the allision.

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