… The report did say that the Filipino fishermen failed to have a lookout, employed an unlicensed chief engine officer, carried persons onboard in excess of the authorized capacity and had an expired license from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
But it also said the boat Gem-Ver 1 displayed anchor lights and white flashing light in compliance with maritime regulations.
Also, the weather was “fair with starry skies on a first quarter moon” and “visibility was slightly clear and the sea state was calm”; thus, it would have been impossible for the Chinese vessel not to see the Philippine boat.
Contrary to the President’s characterization, the PCG-MIA [Philippine Coast Guard-Maritime Industry Authority] report described the sinking of the Gem-Ver 1 as a “Very Serious Marine Casualty due to the total loss of ship.”
And while it did not say whether the “bumping” of Gem-Ver 1 by the Chinese trawler was deliberate, it noted that “the fact that the other fishing vessel hit the anchored fishing banca is an indication that they did not perform necessary actions prescribed in Rule 18 (a) to prevent the incident” — referring to rules under the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
The Chinese vessel, according to the report, “was found to have failed to take appropriate action to avoid the risk of collision and to render assistance to a vessel in distress.”
The second part is the crux of the matter, and what most sticks in the craw: that the Chinese left the Filipino fishermen in distress — but not before it circled back, apparently to check whether the Filipino boat had indeed gone under.
“By maneuvering back and stopping approximately 50 meters away from FBca ‘GEM-VER’ with her fishing lights open, the other vessel can be considered to have direct knowledge of the distress situation,” said the report. But, according to the fishermen, the Chinese vessel then turned off its lights and fled the scene.
… In a statement, the Chinese Embassy identified the Chinese trawler as the Yuemaobinyu 42212 of Guandong province. In that same statement, it peddled the lie, since retracted, that the Chinese vessel left the scene out of fear that it would be “besieged” by seven or eight other Filipino boats in the area (there were none). …
our side, our version of events, for the record.