Ten days after the removal of the ill-fated USS Guardian from the Tubbataha Reef, this time, a Chinese-flagged fishing vessel reportedly ran aground late Monday evening (April 8) along the northern part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Commodore Enrico Evangelista of the Coast Guard District Palawan said that based on the report given by the Tubbataha Management Office, a fishing vessel “being Chinese of origin” with marking “63168” and 12 crew members, who are all Chinese nationals got stuck in the reef’s north islet, where the Ranger Station is located.
Upon receiving the said report, the country’s maritime law enforcement agency immediately dispatched its search and rescue vessel BRP-Romblon (SARV-3503) early Tuesday morning to assess the current situation near the grounding site and to closely guard the distressed Chinese fishing vessel.
Officials and crew members of BRP-Romblon will hand over the 12 Chinese crew members to the regional office of the National Committee on Illegal Entrants in Palawan.
Meanwhile, Coast Guard Commandant Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena has instructed PCG personnel to provide the fishermen with proper treatment in accordance with law and attend to their basic needs while in the PCG’s custody.
The Philippine Coast Guard, April 10, 2013; Image: Naval Forces West