Palace accepts Chinese vessel shipowner's apology over Recto Bank boat sinking incident
Malacañang accepted on Wednesday the apology extended by the owner of the Chinese vessel which rammed the fishing boat carrying 22 Filipino fishermen in Recto Bank last June.
This was after the president of the Guangdong Fishery Mutual Insurance Association sent a letter to the Philippine Embassy in Beijing on August 26 asking for an apology for the "accidental collision" on the night of June 9 in behalf of the shipowner.
"It was fortunate that there were no casualties. I feel deep regret that this accident had to happen and I would like to express my deep sympathy to the Filipino fishermen. The shipowner of the Chinese fishing boat involved, through our Association, would like to express his sincere apology to the Filipino fishermen," said Chen Shiqin, president of the association in a letter, which key portions were translated to English by the Philippine Embassy.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, in a statement, said, "we accept the recent apology extended by the owner of the Chinese vessel to our fishermen affected by the incident."
"We likewise welcome the owner's humility to take responsibility and acknowledgement that compensation must be provided to cover the actual loss," he said.
Panelo released the statement in China where he is accompanying President Rodrigo Duterte on a four-day official visit.
In the same letter by the association, Chen said while what happened was an accident, which was "unintentional mistake" of the Chinese fishermen, "the Chinese fishing boat should however take the major responsibility in the accident."
"The Philippine side is requested to file a specific appeal for civil compensation based on the actual loss. 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," Chen said.
According to the initial claim of the Filipino fishermen, the Chinese vessel rammed their fishing boat, which capsized due to the incident.
The Chinese just left the Filipino fishermen who were rescued by a Vietnamese vessel, which happened to pass by.
The apology by the association was made public coinciding Duterte's fifth visit to China upon the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Celerina Monte/DMS