PH-China execs start talks on Gem-Ver’s compensation
MANILA, Philippines—It has taken almost two years after the Gem-Ver, a Filipino fishing boat, was rammed by a Chinese fishing vessel near Recto Bank in 2019 for a discussion to begin concerning compensation.
Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay said on Tuesday that Philippine officials met with China’s Bureau of Fisheries representatives last Monday mainly to discuss compensation for actual and moral damages.
Sugay said: “The Philippine panel reiterated the claim of the owner and the crew members of the F/B Gem-Ver1 for compensation for the damage sustained by the fishing vessel, for loss of income, and moral suffering and mental anguish.”
“The Philippine panel invited attention to the fact that the crew members of the Chinese fishing vessel, in violation of relevant international conventions and customary international maritime law, failed to extend assistance to persons who were clearly in distress at sea,” he added.
Gem-ver was rammed by the Chinese vessel Yuemaobinyu 42212 around midnight of June 9, 2019. The 22 crew members were abandoned at sea for at least two hours before they were rescued by a passing Vietnamese fishing boat.
Sugay said representatives of the owners of the Chinese fishing vessel have formally informed the owner and crew members of the Gem-Ver1 of the counter-proposal.
“What was agreed upon was a formal counterproposal from the Chinese side. Any further meetings will be dependent on the acceptability of the counterproposal,” he said.
Last year, the Department of Justice set a P12-million as payment to the fishermen covering repair costs, loss of income, and civil and moral damages.
But Sugay has opted not to give specific figures mentioned during the Monday discussion.
“What was agreed upon was a formal counter-proposal from the Chinese side. Any further meetings will be dependent on the acceptability of the counter-proposal,” Sugay said.
He added that the question of whether the parties can still sue each other after payment of compensation still “has to be agreed upon by the parties.”
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