House Minority Leader and Manila 6th District Rep. Benny Abante Jr. on Thursday said he welcomed the apology of the Chinese fishermen over the June Reed Bank incident that resulted in the sinking of F/B Gem-Ver and endangered the lives of its 22-man crew, saying it was “a first positive step to obtaining justice for our countrymen.”
“The efforts of the Chinese fishing boat operator to take responsibility for the accident and to compensate the owner and crew of F/B Gem-Ver are a good sign,” said the lawmaker from Manila.
“However, I hope the government continues to assist our 22 kababayan to be certain they are properly compensated.”
“However, I hope the government continues to assist our 22 kababayan to be certain they are properly compensated, and institutes measures to prevent similar accidents in the future.”
In a memo submitted to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the owner of the Chinese vessel, through a Chinese Association, apologized for the collision that occured on June 9.
The memo explained that an investigation into the incident revealed that the operator of the Chinese fishing vessel is registered in Guangdong and determined that the collision was an accident and “unintentional mistake” on the part of the ship’s crew.
The author of the memo also said that “the Chinese fishing boat should however take major responbility in the accident,” urged the Filipino crew to seek compensation for the loss of their ship, and stressed that the Chinese shipowner involved would be encouraged to “coordinate with the Philippine side to expedite the latter’s claim for compensation according to the procedures for insurance claim.”
The association also came up with the accident investigation report. They reiterated that the said collision was “an unintentional mistake.”
However, they believe that the Chinese vessel should still take the major responsibility for the “accident.”
“Our association will urge the shipowner of the fishing boat involved to actively coordinate with the Philippine side to expedite the latter’s claim for compensation according to the procedures for insurance claim,” the memorandum read.