Captain of sunken PH boat: ‘The Chinese did it’
MANILA, Philippines — The skipper of the sunken Philippine fishing vessel in the West Philippine Sea is certain that it was a Chinese vessel that deliberately rammed their boat.
“Nakita po namin na binangga po kami. Chinese talaga yun (We saw the vessel that rammed our boat. We are sure they were Chinese),” Junel Insigne, boat captain of F/B Gem-vir, said on live television.
The incident happened at the Recto Bank (Reed Bank) last June 9. Twenty-two fishermen were helpless at sea until a Vietnamese boat helped them.
The rescued fishermen were aboard BRP Tausug on their way home to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. Insigne said they were sure it was a Chinese vessel because they are familiar with the boats sailing in the West Philippine Sea.
“Kada punta po namin doon lagi namin nakikita ang mga lantsa na yan (Whenever we go there, we always see those vessels),” he said.
Insigne revealed that the crew of the Chinese vessel even made sure that their boat was submerged before they left.
“Pagbangga sa amin binalikan kami at inilawan. Nung nakita kaming lubog na tinakbuhan po kami (After they hit us, they even went back to make sure that our boat was submerged before they left),” he said.
He said the incident happened around midnight while they were taking a rest.
“Nagulat na lang po kami bakit po kami binangga po (We were surprised they rammed our boat),” he said.
Two bancas from the fishing boat were dispatched to ask for help and it took two fishermen about two hours to find help. Insigne estimates that the distance is about five miles.
However, they also lost their fish catch weighing about three tons.
“Bawi na sana kami. Wala na po bulok na naitapon na (The fish rotted),” Insigne said.
The Philippine government has filed a diplomatic protest against China over the incident. But the Chinese foreign ministry said it was only an “ordinary maritime incident” and should not be politicized. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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