China-flagged carrier hits Philippines fishing boat

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star
China-flagged carrier hits Philippines fishing boat
Photo from the PCG shows five Filipino fishermen getting assistance after their boat was reportedly hit by the Chinaflagged bulk carrier MV Tai Hang 8 in the waters near Paluan, Occidental Mindoro on Dec. 5.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard would be “very serious” in investigating a China-flagged bulk carrier that reportedly hit a Philippine fishing boat at daytime last Dec. 5 in Occidental Mindoro, PCG Commandant Ronnie Gil Gavan said yesterday.

Gavan, a PCG admiral, said the allision – a maritime accident wherein a vessel strikes a stationary object – between the Filipino fishing boat F/B Ruel J and the Chinese-flagged bulk carrier M/V Tai Hang 8 would be looked into to determine who is at fault.

“We assure the public that we will be very serious with this. This also goes with any user of our seas. If they commit mistakes, if they make offense in our waters, we will go after them anywhere in the world through the existing protocols that we have with other coast guards all over the world,” Gavan said.

Initial investigation showed that at 4 p.m. on Dec. 5, five Filipino fishermen – identified as Junrey Sardan, Ryan Jay Daus, Bryan Pangatungam, Cristian Arizala and Joshua Barbas – were engaged in fishing activities in Paluan, Occidental Mindoro and had just laid out a “payao” (a type of fish aggregating device).

According to the fishermen, it was at this juncture that their boat F/B Ruel J was hit by MV TAI HANG 8 and left to drift aimlessly on water. The foreign vessel, on the other hand, continued on its voyage.

At the time of the incident, the sea condition was reportedly moderate to rough.

The investigation also showed that all five fishermen were rescued and said to be in good physical condition. Their boat was towed to shore.

The fishermen were turned over to their families while the boat captain and boat owner, who is from Palawan, were advised to file a marine protest.

Admiral Gavan said they are tracking the whereabouts of MV TAI HANG, which reportedly came from China and was heading to Indonesia. As of yesterday morning, it was moving along the Sibutu Passage.

He gave assurance that the incident would be reported to the ship’s flag state and Port State Control office in adherence to maritime incident procedures. They are also coordinating with the ship’s company.

Last Oct. 2, an allision also took place in Pangasinan. The Marshall Islands-registered crude oil tanker MT Pacific Anna allegedly hit the Filipino fishing boat F/B Dearyn at 4:20 a.m., causing it to capsize and the death of three Filipinos – the boat captain and two crewmen.

Gavan said that they continue to investigate the incident in Pangasinan.

“We have coordinated efforts with the flag state which is Marshall Islands. We were supposed to go to Malaysia this month to do the cross-matching of paint together with the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO). But its (MT Pacific Anna’s) destination was 200 kilometers from the nearest shoreline, so it is not practical to conduct the test. We are waiting for the best place to do the test. It is an ongoing process and we are doing this very seriously,” Gavan said.

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