The Chinese fishing vessel involved in the Recto Bank incident last month failed to avoid colliding with the Filipino fishing vessel and left the boat’s crew without helping them, a joint investigation revealed.
Official findings of the joint probe conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard and the Maritime Industry Authority said the “unidentified Chinese fishing vessel failed to take appropriate action to avoid the risk of collision and to render assistance to a vessel in distress.”
The findings which were made public yesterday also affirmed that FBca Gem-Ver 1 which was damaged and eventually submerged off Recto Bank in Palawan is a “serious marine casualty.”
Investigation showed that the Chinese fishing vessel failed to extend assistance to the distressed vessel “by maneuvering back and stopping approximately 50 meters away from the fishing banca Gem-Ver 1.”
The investigation attested that the Chinese fishing vessel knew that the Filipino fishing vessel was distressed and that it needed help.
With Gem-Ver’s fishing lights open, the Chinese fishing vessel “can be considered to have direct knowledge of the distress situation.”
“However, by failing to extend assistance, the master of the vessel which hit the FBca ‘Gem-Ver’ did not comply with the Part VII, Article 98 (1c) of the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea 82,” the PCG and Marina said.
Under UNCLOS 82, “Every State shall require the master of a ship flying its flag, in so far as he can do so without serious danger to the ship, the crew, or passengers, 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 her own ship, its port of registry, and the nearest part at which it will call.” (Betheena Unite)