Gordon condemns Chinese crew’s inhuman treatment of Pinoy fishermen
MANILA, Philippines – The crew of a Chinese vessel who abandoned the 22 Filipino crewmen of a sinking fishing boat in the West Philippine Sea committed inhumane acts, Senator Richard Gordon stressed on Thursday.
Gordon took offense at the Chinese crew’s actions, especially since the Philippine fishing boat sank after a “collision” with the Chinese vessel.
“I take umbrage at the Chinese crew’s act of leaving and abandoning the Filipino crew after their boat collided with the latter’s vessel and sank near the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea last Sunday,” Gordon said in a statement.
“They committed acts of inhumanity by leaving and abandoning people who are in peril of the sea and they should answer for it,” he added.
Gordon also noted that the Chinese vessel violated several laws which require vessels to help the other ship in case of a collision — something which he hopes every seafarer around the world would honor and understand.
“There are laws like the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea or SOLAS and Article 98 of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS that mandate vessels, especially after a collision, to render assistance to the other ship, its crew and its passengers, and where possible, to inform the other ship of the name of his own ship, its port of registry and the nearest port at which it will call,” he pointed out.
“The Chinese crew violated these laws,” he added.
On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that the incident, happened last Sunday.
After the Chinese vessel left the 22 Filipino fishermen in sea, the crew of a passing Vietnamese ship rescued them and coordinated with local authorities.
Lorenzana himself called the Chinese seafearer’s actions as something not expected from “a responsible and friendly people”.
Gordon also said that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) should ensure that Filipino fishermen are adequately protected especially in the highly-disputed region.
“The Philippine Coast Guard should always be in position in that area. We must have Coast Guard assets there to protect our fishermen,” he explained.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the government has already filed a diplomatic protest on the same day the report was made public. (Editor: Gilbert S. Gaviola)
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