PH, Taiwan coast guards face off in Batanes
Philippine and Taiwanese coast guard ships challenged each other at sea last week, a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) official said on Wednesday.
“The Philippine Coast Guard confirms the standoff last May 25 between PCG-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources operatives patrolling Batanes area and the Taiwan Coast Guard,” PCG spokesperson Cmdr. Armand Balilo said.
The PCG ship accosted the Taiwanese fishing boat Min Jiang Tsai 6 at 18 nautical miles northeast of Batanes at 6:25 p.m.
The Philippine ship was towing the fishing vessel when Taiwan Coast Guard 118 appeared and blocked their path, Balilo said. The Taiwanese coast guard then demanded the release of the Min Jiang Tsai 6.
After a four-hour standoff, the PCG operatives released the Taiwanese fishing boat—reportedly upon instructions of the BFAR.
Balilo said they were not privy with the negotiations.
“Ang feedback sa ’kin, in-order-an sila, nagpaalam sila sa BFAR na i-release tapos ’yung BFAR yata ang nag-decide na i-release sila,” he said.
The incident took place amid efforts of both economies to work on their differences in their overlapping marine economic areas.
In 2013, a Philippine coast guard officer killed a Taiwanese fisherman believed to be fishing in Philippine waters. The incident sparked outrage in Taiwan.
On May 7, another Taiwanese fishing boat was intercepted by the PCG near Yami Island in Batanes.