The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Thursday said the fatal ramming incident involving a foreign vessel and Filipino fishing boat that left three Filipino fishermen dead off Pangasinan was an “accident.”
Interviewed during the Bagong Pilipinas public briefing, PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea (WPS) Commodore Jay Tarriela said this was based on the initial information that they have.
“We can say na hindi naman ito talaga deliberate. At the same time, the testimony ng ating mga naka-survive na mangingisda, sila rin mismo nagsasabi na in this particular time na nangyari ito masyadong madilim ang area, pangit ang panahon so there is a possibility na hindi sila napansin,” he said.
(We can say that the foreign vessel did not deliberately ram the Filipino fishing boat. At the same time, the survivors themselves said that during that time the area was too dark and the weather was bad so there is a possibility that they were not noticed.)
“Ito ay isang aksidente (This is an accident)” he added.
Tarriela said that through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Philippine government will still assert liability claims to the owner of the foreign vessel.
“Kung mapapatunayan natin talaga na iyong coordinates na dinaan nila ay iyun nga, of course through the DFA, we will reach out to the flag of registry for the state administration, kung saan siya naka-register, to help us in asserting iyung liability claims sa mga may-ari ng barkong ito,” he said.
(If it is proven that the vessel was really in the area where the incident happened, of course through the DFA, we will reach out to the flag of registry for the state administration, where it was registered, to help us in asserting liability claims on the owners of the vessel.)
Tarriela also clarified that the location of the incident is approximately 180 nautical miles off Agno, Pangasinan, and not Scarborough Shoal in WPS as earlier reported.
"I would like to clarify also na ito ay nangyari sa karagatan ng Pangasinan. It is not within the immediate vicinity ng Bajo de Masinloc. I would like to correct that statement na una naming nailabas na inuugnay ito sa Bajo de Masinloc," he said.
(I would like to clarify also that this happened off the waters of Pangasinan. It is not within the immediate vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc. I would like to correct that earlier statement mentioning Bajo de Masinloc.)
PCG commandant Admiral Artemio earlier said the ramming of the Philippine boat was not related to the tensions in the WPS.
The PCG on Wednesday said the Filipino fishing boat was moored 85 nautical miles northwest of Scarborough Shoal, locally known as Bajo de Masinloc, when it was rammed by an oil tanker registered under the flag of the Marshall Islands. —KBK, GMA Integrated News