The Philippines says the ship, registered in the Marshall Islands, may have been involved in a maritime collision

MANILA (Reuters) – An oil tanker registered under the flag of the Marshall Islands is suspected of accidentally colliding with a Filipino boat in the South China Sea, killing three fishermen, the Philippine Coast Guard said. Wednesday.

Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Armando Balilo said the incident was under investigation, but Coast Guard surveillance indicated that Pacific Ana, registered under the flag of the Marshall Islands, was the likely vessel that collided with the fishing boat.

The Coast Guard said in a statement that the Philippine boat “failed to spot” the approaching foreign ship due to bad weather conditions, resulting in a collision that led to the boat capsizing. Among those who died was the captain.

The Coast Guard said it would contact the ship Pacific Anna, which according to Eikon data is on its way to Singapore.

The Philippine Coast Guard said the Philippine fishing boat was anchored 85 nautical miles northwest of the disputed Scarborough Shoal when it “accidentally collided” with the passing foreign commercial vessel on October 2. Eleven crew members survived.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he was saddened by the killing of the three fishermen and assured their families that his government “will hold accountable those responsible for this unfortunate maritime incident.”

Marcos said the accident is under investigation to ascertain the details and circumstances surrounding the collision.

“Let’s let the PCG do its job and investigate, and let’s refrain from engaging in speculation in the meantime,” Marcos said on the X social media platform, referring to the Coast Guard.

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The Coast Guard’s Balilo said the owner of the Pacific Anna has not yet been identified.

Tensions around those waters rose recently after the Philippines said it removed a 300-metre-long buoy barrier erected by the Chinese Coast Guard near Scarborough Shoal, a major fishing area and one of the most contested maritime landmarks in Asia.

The strategic shoal, named after a British cargo ship that ran aground there in the 18th century, is in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, but was seized in 2012 by China, which has maintained a continuous presence of coast guard vessels and fishing vessels there ever since. since.

China rejected the Philippines’ account of what happened regarding the wall, while the United States provided support to Manila and pledged to respect its obligations under the treaty to defend its treaty ally if it was attacked.

(Reporting by Karen Lima and Michael Flores – Prepared by Muhammad for the Arabic Bulletin – Prepared by Muhammad for the Arabic Bulletin) Editing by Martin Beattie and Gerry Doyle

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