Philippines turn to UN after boat collision in South China Sea

A Chinese fishing vessel en route for a haul. (AFP pic)

MANILA: The Philippines has asked the United Nations to make protecting life at sea a priority after the collision this month between a Filipino fishing boat and a Chinese vessel in the South China Sea.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, in a post on his Twitter account, said he authorized the Philippine embassy in London to make an “appeal” to the UN and its International Maritime Organization. He also posted a government statement to the IMO claiming the Filipino boat’s crew “were callously abandoned” and would have “perished” if it not for the assistance from a Vietnamese vessel.

Any armed attack on Filipino vessels, or aircraft, would trigger US obligations under the Mutual Defense Treaty, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said, the Philippine Star reported on Sunday. Philippines Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has said he believes a Chinese militia ship was likely behind the ramming of the Filipino vessel in the disputed sea on June 9.

The Philippines filed a diplomatic protest against China after it said the crew of a Chinese fishing boat sank a Filipino vessel carrying 22 fishermen in the South China Sea, an incident seen as potentially inflaming a dispute calmed by warm ties between the nations’ leaders. China has confirmed that a Chinese fishing vessel was involved in an incident with Filipino fishermen in South China Sea, but denied that it hit and abandoned them.