Home News The Philippines is investigating the deaths of three fishermen in the East Sea

The Philippines is investigating the deaths of three fishermen in the East Sea

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The Philippines is currently investigating the deaths of three Filipino fishermen who were killed in a collision with a “foreign” vessel in the South China Sea. The incident occurred near Scarborough Shoal, with the Philippine fishing boat FFB Dearyn being struck at around 4:20 a.m. on Monday. Fortunately, eleven crew members were able to survive the crash and reach land the following day, bringing the deceased to Pangasinan province in northern Luzon.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr assured the victims, their families, and the public that every effort would be made to hold accountable those responsible for this unfortunate incident. He also called for all parties to refrain from engaging in speculation while the investigation is ongoing.

The Philippine coast guard is backtracking and checking all monitored vessels in the area as part of their investigation. They have also expressed their intention to reach out to an oil tanker registered under the flag of the Marshall Islands, which may have been in the vicinity at the time of the collision.

The South China Sea is a crucial waterway for international trade, with a significant amount of global shipping passing through each year. However, navigation hazards and poorly regulated commercial operations in the area pose risks to shipping and undermine security.

It is worth noting that incidents like this are not uncommon in Southeast Asia, where crews are often mistreated and undertrained. The overall governance problem in the region contributes to collisions and other maritime accidents sometimes not being reported due to a lack of trust in authorities or fear of prosecution.

The South China Sea is also a major maritime flashpoint due to territorial disputes between China and several Southeast Asian nations. China’s claims of ownership over almost the entire waterway, in defiance of an international court ruling, have resulted in tensions with other countries, including the Philippines.

Richard Heydarian, a senior lecturer in international relations at the University of the Philippines, suggests that while this particular incident may not have directly involved China, the territorial disputes could have had an indirect influence. He argues that China’s actions, including preventing Filipino fishermen from accessing traditional fishing grounds, push them further into the high seas.

China’s Foreign Ministry has defended the behavior of its vessels in the South China Sea, claiming they are protecting their territorial sovereignty. However, the area has seen increasing confrontations between Philippine vessels and larger Chinese coast guard ships, along with alleged Chinese “maritime militia” fishing vessels.

Manila has previously won a significant maritime dispute against China at an international tribunal in The Hague, which concluded that China has no legal basis to claim historic rights to most of the South China Sea. Despite this ruling, Beijing has ignored it, according to Manila.

In summary, the Philippines is currently investigating the collision between a Filipino fishing boat and a “foreign” vessel in the South China Sea, resulting in the deaths of three fishermen. The incident highlights ongoing territorial disputes and safety concerns in the region.

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