MANILA – Beijing is ready to provide assistance in relation to the collision of a Filipino fishing vessel and a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship on June 28 off the coast of Occidental Mindoro.
“The embassy took note that relevant Philippine agencies are conducting investigation on the cause of the incident. We are ready to render any necessary assistance,” the Chinese embassy in Manila said in a statement.
As of this writing, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is conducting a search and rescue operation for the 12 missing fishermen as well as two other passengers of the FV Liberty 5.
FV Liberty 5 departed from Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi going to Navotas Fish Port when the incident occurred on June 28.
On the same day, the PCG received a distress call from the captain of HK-flagged MV Vienna Wood about the collision.
Meanwhile, the embassy asked parties to “refrain from politicalizing [sic] the issue and seeking narrow interests from such a humanitarian tragedy”.
The embassy said it was “shocked” and “saddened” by the incident and offered prayers to the missing fishermen.
“During this difficult time, our top priority should be given to the rescue of missing crew members and passengers,” it said.
The sea mishap followed a June 2019 incident involving a Chinese vessel and Filipino fishing boat Gem-Ver1 at Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea that resulted in the latter’s sinking.
In the same statement, the embassy said China is also working with the Philippine side to resolve this issue.
“China has been working closely with the Philippine side to solve the case. The concerned Chinese fishing association has already offered a compensation proposal to the Philippine side and has been waiting for formal feedback from the latter,” it said. (PNA)