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Gov’t asking China anew to compensate crewmen of rammed fishing boat

Gov’t asking China anew to compensate crewmen of rammed fishing boat
Christia Marie Ramos -June 22, 2020

A closer look at the damaged fantail of the Philippine fishing boat Gem-Ver 1. (Photo from the Philippine Navy)
MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Monday said he would bring to the attention of the Chinese government anew the issue on the unpaid compensation of the 22 Gem-Ver fishing boat crewmen a year after the ramming incident off Recto Bank.

In an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel, Locsin was asked regarding the compensation for the 22 Mindoro fishermen, whose fishing boat sank after it was rammed by a Chinese trawler inside Philippine territory.

“China has responded, they have said that it is the fault of the Chinese vessel and the question is the damages. And now that you mentioned it, okay, I’ll bring it up again,” Locsin said but noted that it is not the Chinese government “that committed the damage.”

Locsin pointed out that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will determine the compensation for the fishermen.

The foreign affairs chief, however, said the DOJ has yet to do so.

“The compensation turns out is going to be determined by our Department of Justice. In the meantime, a private association of Chinese gave them [a] boat, but that’s not the compensation that is required,” Locsin said.

“But it (DOJ) will [determine the compensation]. I have tremendous confidence in the Secretary. It is a private vessel so, I’m sure they’ll come up with it very soon,” he added.

In June last year, a Chinese trawler rammed the fishing boat GemVer with 22 Filipino fishermen on board at Recto Bank, which is within the Philippines’ 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.

A Vietnamese fishing boat rescued the Filipino fishermen.

In August of the same year, the Guangdong Fishery Mutual Insurance Association apologized on behalf of the Chinese ship owner, calling it an “accident” and asked the Philippines to file a claim for compensation.