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PHL Navy chief says ramming of another vessel at sea must be 'strongly condemned'

Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad on Thursday joined Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in condemning the incident at Reed Bank where a Filipino fishing boat sank after it was reportedly hit by a Chinese vessel on Sunday.

Empedrad underscored that it would never be acceptable for any vessel, regardless of its country of origin, to hit another vessel and abandon it without even assisting those who are on board.

"Sa akin I support the statement of the SND (Secretary of National Defense) and sa akin regardless of kung saan galing 'yung barko, we have to condemn it because he just bumped a ship and then takasan niya. Ano ba namang klaseng ano 'yan?" Empedrad said.

"Hindi naman puwedeng babangga ka, tapos kahit naman anong klase, kahit naman sinong ano 'yun, kung saan galing 'yung barko na 'yun, dapat i-condemn at the strongest sense," he said.

Empedrad said he believes that it is the responsibility of the ship that hit the vessel to provide assistance to the affected crew members.

"Hindi mo puwedeng iwanan, di ba? Bakit mo iiwanan eh buhay na tao 'yun, regardless kung ano mang klaseng race 'yan. You have to help, provide assistance," he said.

The Navy chief added that the probe on the incident would be based on existing maritime rules.

On June 10, the Maritime Situational Awareness Center - West (MSAC - West) received information from the boat captain of FB 076 that a Chinese fishing vessel collided with Filipino boat F/B GIMVER 1.

The incident was bared by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on June 12, the day the Philippines celebrated its 121st Independence Day.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro "Teddyboy" Locsin Jr. said he has already filed a diplomatic protest over the incident.  —Anna Felicia Bajo/KBK, GMA News