Sec Piñol says crew member who is awake is unsure if Chinese vessel saw their boat

In an interview on ANC, DFA Secretary Manny Piñol said a fisherman who was on board the Filipino fishing boat was unsure if the Chinese fishing vessel saw them.
Photo credit to the owner

According to Piñol, the cook named Richard Blaza was the only one awake before the incident happened. Blaza was cooking rice while all the fisherman including the captain were sleeping.

"Richard told me shortly before the accident, the captain was sleeping in his cabin, the captain's cabin. And there were only 2 lights in the fishing boat - one in the captain's cabin and one in the kitchen," Piñol said. 

"When he saw the vessel was coming towards their direction, he rushed to the captain and roused the captain from his sleep and told him that there was an oncoming vessel," Piñol quoted Blaza as saying. 

"He said the captain tried to start the engine but it was too late, they were hit by the vessel. Shortly after the impact, he said the vessel actually slowed down, lighted the vessel and trained on them flashlights."

"Many of them were already in the water and they were asking for help but the Chinese vessel tuned off the lights and sped off and left the scene."

During their conversation, Piñol asked Blaza if he believes the ramming was intentional.

"'Sir, maaaring hindi kami nakita,'" Piñol recalled Blaza as saying. 

"'Yun ang statement nung kusinero kasi dalawa lang ang ilaw nila - isa sa kitchen, isa sa kamarote ng kapitan.

Piñol said the cook is more reliable than the other fishermen because all of them were sleeping.

"Eh tulog 'yung kapitan."

"'Yung statement ng kapitan na parang certain siya na intentional ang pagbangga sa kanila ng barko ng Intsik is based on his appreciation. Let me emphasize the statement of the cook - he was the only one who was awake at the time of the accident."

Piñol said a proper investigation is needed to determine if the ramming of the FB GEM-VER was intentional or not. 

Abandoning the 22 Filipino fishermen at sea after the ramming is already a violation of maritime laws, he said. 

"We denounce that. The Department of Agriculture, as the agency where these fishermen belong to as stakeholders, denounce the act by the Chinese fishing vessel of abandoning the fishermen while they were in the water seeking for help," he said. 

Source: ABS-CBN 
Sec Piñol says crew member who is awake is unsure if Chinese vessel saw their boat Sec Piñol says crew member who is awake is unsure if Chinese vessel saw their boat Reviewed by Nathan Singson on June 18, 2019 Rating: 5

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