TACLOBAN - Two months after a Chinese vessel got stranded off Eastern Samar, the Philippine Coast Guard has taken custody of its crew over alleged crimes committed in China.
According to the PCG on Friday, authorities boarded KaiDa 899 anchored at Tacloban port to take custody of the Chinese crew.
Personal belongings of the seafarers, including cellphones, and the CCTV footage of the ship were also confiscated.
PCG officials saw the ship also has raised Chinese flags at both ends of the ship, unlike before when it was stranded. Authorities took down the flags.
The crew was medically examined by local health workers before they were sent to Ormoc City. From there, they will be sent to custody under immigration officials in Cebu.
The Chinese embassy in the Philippines earlier said seven members of the Chinese crew are suspects of some crimes committed in China. The embassy asked the PCG to transfer the custody of the crew members to the Bureau of Immigration.
The ship earlier this year broke down near Suluan Island in Eastern Samar.
It had been repaired as of Friday, the PCG said, even after authorities refused to supply the crew with materials due to lack of required documents from the vessel.
Authorities also did not allow to the crew to leave as they were not able to show appropriate documents, such as certificate of ownership.
The PCG only obtained a certificate of deletion of the ship's registration, which means the vessel has not passed maritime safety standards.
The ship was suspected to be a fishing vessel, but the crew's legal counsel claimed it was a supply ship.
The PCG said it will continue to guard the Chinese ship. - Report from Sharon Evite