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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

China assures PH boat owner, crew of payment

The Chinese government has reassured  the owner and crew of the Philippine fishing vessel F/B Gem-Ver1 of satisfactory compensation for their damaged boat, a Department of Justice official said on Tuesday.

Justice Undersecretary Adrian Ferdinand Sugay revealed that the renewed commitment was made by China’s Bureau of Fisheries during the talks hosted by the Philippine Embassy in Beijing last Monday, June 7.

“The Bureau of Fisheries (of the Philippines), for its part, undertook to coordinate directly with the DOJ to ensure that the owner and crew members of the F/B Gem-Ver1 are fairly and satisfactorily compensated for all damages sustained as a result of the collision,” Sugay said, in a text message to reporters.

The DOJ official added that the representatives of the owners of the Chinese fishing vessel that collided with the Filipino vessel “undertook to formally inform the owner and crew members of the F/B Gem-Ver1 of their counter-proposal.”

F/B Gem-Ver1 sunk on June 9, 2019 after being rammed by a Chinese fishing vessel in Reed Bank, also known as the Recto Bank, in the West Philippine Sea.

The Chinese fishing vessel fled, leaving the crew of Gem-Ver1 stranded until they got rescued and returned to the Philippines.

The owner and crew of the Filipino fishing vessel have  been seeking over P12-million in compensation and damages.

Sugay said the talks with China’s Bureau of Fisheries was conducted by representatives of the DOJ together with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“The discussions were mainly on the matter of compensation for actual and moral damages,” he stressed.

“The Philippine panel reiterated the claim of the owner and the crew members of the F/B Gem-Ver1 for compensation for the damage sustained by the fishing vessel, for loss of income, and for moral suffering and mental anguish,” he added.

During the meeting, the Philippine panel raised the fact that “the crew members of the Chinese fishing vessel, in violation of relevant international conventions and customary international maritime law, failed to extend assistance to persons who were clearly in distress at sea,” he said.

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