Military cites report: Chinese ship ‘accidentally collided’ with Filipino fishing boat

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 13 2019 02:31 PM | Updated as of Jun 13 2019 04:09 PM

This picture taken on April 21, 2017 shows an aerial view of reefs in the disputed Spratly islands. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana flew to a disputed South China Sea island on April 21, brushing off a challenge by the Chinese military while asserting Manila's territorial claim to the strategic region. Ted Aljibe, AFP/File

MANILA (UPDATE) - The collision of a Chinese vessel and Filipino fishing boat in the West Philippine Sea on Sunday was accidental, the Philippine military said Thursday.

The Chinese ship "accidentally collided" with the Filipino boat anchored near the Reed Bank in the West Philippine Sea off Palawan around 12 midnight Sunday, the military's Western Command said in a statement.

The Western Command added that the Chinese vessel "immediately left the vicinity" after the collision leaving the Filipino boat F/B GEMVIR 1 sinking.

It said it would investigate the collision for the possible filing of diplomatic complaints over information that the Chinese crew "did not even bother to stop and rescue" the Filipinos. 

Twenty-two Filipino fishermen were left at sea by the Chinese crew after their ship sank in what the Philippine military called a "hit-and-run." They were rescued by a Vietnamese vessel. 

President Rodrigo Duterte was "outraged" over the incident, his spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

The Philippines had filed a diplomatic protest over the incident, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced on social media Thursday.