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The Western Command (WESCOM) will conduct an investigation on the alleged collision near the vicinity of Recto Bank that caused the sinking of Filipino fishing vessel F/B GIMVER 1 around 12:00 MN, June 9.
LTC Stephen Penetrante, spokesperson of WESCOM, said the initial investigation will be conducted to collect evidence for the possible filing of complaints.
“WESCOM thru Joint Task Force West will initially conduct an inquiry on how the collision happened to document evidence for the possible filing of diplomatic complaints if the alleged information against the Chinese vessel that did not even bother to stop and rescue the Filipino fishing boat with its crew onboard is true,” said Penetrante in a press statement.
On the other hand, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) filed a diplomatic protest with China over the incident.
“I fired off a diplomatic protest yesterday,” said Secretary Locsin in a June 13 reply to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s tweet about the referral of the incident to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
As a response to the incident, one of Philippine Navy’s offshore patrol vessels, BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS 16), is sent to the incident area.
“WESCOM thru Joint Task Force West sent naval vessel the PS 16, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz with Naval Special Operation Unit 4 Diving Team and is now in the incident area to render necessary assistance,” said Penetrante.
In the press statement of WESCOM, F/B GIMVER 1 is anchored near Recto Bank when the Chinese vessel accidentally collided with them and immediately left the scene.
“Initial reports reaching this Command from our operating unit that they have received info from the boat captain of FB 076 stating that a certain Chinese vessel accidentally collided with a Filipino fishing boat on June 9, 2019 at around 12 midnight while F/B GIMVER 1 was anchored at the vicinity of Recto Bank, West Philippine Sea. According to the boat captain of F/B 076, the said Chinese vessel immediately left the vicinity after the collision leaving F/B GIMVER 1 sinking,” he added.
A Vietnamese fishing vessel initially rescued the Filipino fishermen that were left by the Chinese with their sinking boat.
The fishermen were transferred to F/B AJ THANKSGIVING, on June 10 through the coordination of WESCOM.