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China offers help to Philippines in sea collision probe: Chinese Embassy

(Xinhua)    09:43, July 01, 2020

MANILA, June 30 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Embassy in Manila on Tuesday offered to help the Philippines investigate the collision between a Philippine fishing boat and a Hong Kong-flagged cargo vessel off Occidental Mindoro province, south of Manila, before midnight on Saturday.

In a statement, the Embassy expressed "shock and sadness" over the accident that resulted in the sinking of the boat with 12 Filipino fishermen and two passengers on board.

"This is a tragic accident. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the missing crew members and passengers," the statement read.

"We sincerely hope (that) all of them could be rescued at the earliest," the statement said, adding the Embassy is "ready to render any necessary assistance."

Meantime, the Embassy stressed the need to focus on rescuing the missing people and "refrain from politicizing the issue" pending the investigation.

The Embassy issued the appeal after a few Philippine media reports liken Saturday's collision to a June 10, 2019 collision in the South China Sea that also involved a fishing boat and a Chinese vessel.

"China has been working closely with the Philippine side to solve the case," the Embassy said, adding that "the concerned Chinese fishing association has already offered a compensation proposal to the Philippine side."

"In the spirit of cooperation and friendship, we believe the incident will be solved in a proper manner," the Embassy said.

Philippine Coast Guard commandant Vice Admiral George Ursabia told reporters on Tuesday that Saturday's collision was "definitely" an accident, saying he believes that the cargo Vessel MV Vienna Wood did not intend to collide with the fishing boat FV Liberty 5.

"That area where the collision happened is a sea lane, similar to a highway. They are users of the sea. While navigating, they collided. That is the simple logic of what happened," Ursabia said in a virtual media briefing.

As of Tuesday, Ursabia said no signs of life have so far been found by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) rescuers.

"Based on the results of our scouring of the sea area since Monday there is no life and survivors at all," Ursabia said.

He expressed hope that the missing people have managed to swim to shore and survived the collision that occurred around 10:20 p.m. on Saturday some 15 nautical miles west-southwest off Mamburao town.

The cargo vessel, with Chinese crew members, was sailing to Australia from Subic Bay in Zambales province while the fishing boat was headed to a fish port in Manila when the collision happened, the PCG said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Liang Jun)

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