Filtered By: Topstories

Chinese militia vessels spotted in Recto Bank —BFAR

Several Chinese militia fishing vessels were spotted in Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea, said the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), which delivered crude oil to Filipino fishermen. 

According to Chino Gaston's report on "24 Oras" on Wednesday, the fishermen said Chinese militia vessels are often seen in the area but don't interfere with them.

They also said they do not see them fishing in the area. 

Recto Bank is located inside the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines, which is said to be rich in oil and natural gas. 

On the second day of the refueling mission, China Coast Guard (CCG) Vessel 4202 arrived, which according to BFAR came from the Ayungin Shoal. The vessel is known to block or tail the Philippine Coast Guard and Armed Forces of the Philippines boats during resupply missions.

Earlier on Wednesday, two rubber boats descended from the CCG and circled the BFAR vessel.

In the mission of BFAR and PCG, 22 big boats were given free crude oil.

While the fishing boats were being refueled, GMA Integrated News joined BFAR in inspecting the nearby Rozul Reef.

The underwater video showed the pale color of the crushed corals, different from the live ones.

Despite this, there are signs that nature is recovering, such as a clownfish being spotted on its sea anemone and small fish swimming near the dead corals.

“Sa mga ganung part, I think kailangan pa ng further verification,” said BFAR Mission Commander James Abordo. 

(This part still needs further verification.)

According to the fishermen, of the 10 "payao" fish aggregator devices installed in Recto Bank on April 4, only six are left. It was not yet known if the ropes holding them were cut on purpose.

“Sa sampu na nilaglag namin, anim na lang po ang natira kaya nag worry rin kami kasi meron mga barko ng ano doon, China. Parang long line ang tawag,” said a fisherman. 

(Of the ten that we dropped, only six were left, so we were also worried because there were ships from China ...with a long line.)

GMA Integrated News asked if it was possible to cut the ropes.  The fisherman said “Siguro po, ‘yun talaga kasi hindi naman basta-basta mapuputol 'yung payao kung hindi nasabitan ng kanilang long line.”

(Maybe, that's right because the payao can not just be cut off if they didn't get caught on the long line.)

“Those reports are still subject for verification but other than that there are factors na ganon sir pwede naman po natin masabi na tinangay lang po siya ng mga agos, not necessarily may pumutol or may nagtanggal po,” said Abordo. 

(Those reports are still subject to verification, but other than those factors, sir, we can say that it was just swept away by the currents, not necessarily someone cut it or removed it.)

On April 8, fishermen from Quezon, Palawan, joined the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in placing "payao," a floating aggregate device (FAD) used to attract fish, at Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea. —Sherylin Untalan/LDF,GMA Integrated News