Philippines Claims Chinese Ship is Responsible for Collision Leaving 1 Dead


On June 20 a bulk carrier stuck a fishing boat in the South China Sea, killing one and leaving four missing.

The Philippines suspect a Hong Kong vessel may have rammed the Filipino fishing boat.

On Monday the Philippine Coast Guard released a statement saying that the fishing boat, AXL John was accidentally struck by a Hong Kong bulk carrier, the MV Peach Mountain, which was passing through the area. Reports say the fishermen had tied off near a reef during a storm off the coast of northern Luzon just before being hit.

Filipino Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Armando Balilo described the incident as a “hit-and-run,” saying that the Hong Kong –flagged bulk carrier hit the 25-metre fishing boat and left without trying to assist the fishermen.

The Philippine Coast Guard is looking to the Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre for more information on the vessel suspected of the hit-and-run.

The incident comes in the midst of an ongoing dispute between the two countries over the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino says his government has not directly blamed China, but says that once all the necessary evidence is gathered a case will be filed against the ship. During government event, Aquino made the following statement: “If there was a ramming incident and the people in the ship were abandoned [off Bolinao, Pangasinan], that was a clear violation of the laws governing the seas. We can go to the appropriate fora to file the necessary charges for justice for our fishermen.”

President Aquino plans to speak to the three rescued fishermen, all who say a Chinese vessel is responsible for the incident.

The incident looks to increase tensions in the dispute over the shoal. China has had ships based near the shoal since April. Inclement weather pushed the Philippines to bring their ships home, however the country is considering redeploying vessels to the area.


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