PCG disallowed to board distressed Chinese vessel off Tacloban on 3rd try


Posted at Feb 06 2023 11:33 PM | Updated as of Feb 07 2023 12:31 PM

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(UPDATE) The Philippine Coast Guard was not allowed Monday to board the distressed Chinese vessel MV Kai Da 899 off San Pedro Bay in Tacloban City.

The foreign vessel, with seven Chinese crew members, has been docked in the area for the last 10 days.

Its owner could still not present the certificate of registration and certification of ownership. 

The PCG said it was able to get a copy of a certificate of deletion of ship registration issued by the Chinese government, which means that the vessel is no longer safe for voyage and no longer meets maritime safety standards.

To ensure the safety of the Chinese crew members and check on their condition, the coast guard led by Lt. Commander Ramil Montemar, chief of the Coast Guard Eastern Leyte-Tacloban, attempted to board the vessel for the third time on Monday. But they were denied.

The Chinese ship captain handed Montemar a cell phone to talk with their coordinator, identified as Cherry Song. 

Song was identified as the woman who called the PCG and reported the situation of the distressed Chinese vessel last Jan. 26.

"Ma'am, ang pagpunta po namin dito ay aalamin lang namin kung sila ay walang sakit, maayos ang kalagayan nila. Kung may pangangailangan sila, dadalhin namin, Ma'am," Montemar told Song over the phone.

"Actually, may dala po kaming kaunting pagkain, delata, bigas, tubig at saka fruits. Yun po ang activity namin," he added.

But Song told the Coast Guard official not to board the vessel, without elaborating on the reason.

"Sige Ma'am, hindi na po kami aakyat dahil 'yan po ang inyong rason na ayaw ninyong magpa-board sa vessel. 'Yan po ay ginagalang namin, bilang tagapagpatupad po ng batas ng miyembro ng Philippine Coast Guard," Montemar was heard talking to the coordinator.

Montemar told ABS-CBN News that keeping their communication line open is enough.

"Ang request niya, igalang 'yung kanilang karapatan na 'wag tayong mag-board. Sinunod naman po natin because we respect the right of individual," Montemar said.

"At least okay, nakikipag-usap na sila," he added.

The PCG last went on board the ship on Jan. 27 and 28. 

Montemar said the Chinese crew members are all accounted for and are in good condition.

BRP Cabra, which towed the distressed vessel from Eastern Samar to Tacloban City, is also anchored off San Pedro Bay to serve as a sentinel. 

The PCG also inspected the oil spill boom installed around the vessel to protect the area from possible oil leakage. 

- report by Sharon Evite