Philippine boat captain asserts: 'Binangga, tinakasan kami'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 14 2019 04:50 PM | Updated as of Jun 14 2019 08:28 PM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - The captain of a Philippine vessel asserted Friday that the Reed Bank incident was an allision, and that the Chinese vessel even switched off lights before leaving them at sea. 
 
"Binangga kami ng Chinese. Pagkabangga sa'min akala namin tutulungan kami, 'yun pala tatakasan kami," said F/B GEMVIR1 Captain Junel Insigne. 

"Naka-anchor ang po kami, nakapahinga. Mga alas-dose ng gabi. Marami pong ilaw," he added.

(We were hit by the Chinese. After hitting us we thought they would help us but they ran away. We were anchored, resting. It was midnight. They were many lights around.)

The Filipino fishermen, who were abandoned by a Chinese vessel after sinking their boat near Reed Bank last Sunday, were on their way home at the time this story was posted.

They were transferred Friday to BRP Tausug from BRP Ramon Alcaraz. Tausug will bring the fishermen home to relatives waiting at the San Jose port in Occidental Mindoro.

Insigne said those onboard the Chinese vessel saw the Filipinos' boat sinking. 

"Umikot muna sila, binalikan kami, sinindi yung maraming ilaw, nung nakita kaming lubog na, pinatay yung ilaw ulit bago umatras bago tumakbo palayo."

(They turned around and went back to us. They turned many lights on. When they saw that we were sinking, they turned off the lights before leaving us.)

The fishermen were rescued by a Vietnamese fishing vessel in the area, in coordination with the Philippine military.

"Kung wala dun yung Vietnam, baka mamatay na kaming lahat," Insigne said.

(If the Vietnamese weren't there we would have died.)

The fishermen arrived in Occidental Mindoro on Friday night.

Beijing downplayed the incident and said it has launched an investigation into the incident as Malacañang called for a sanction on the Chinese ship crew.

Government has said it might cut diplomatic ties with China if the incident was found intentional.

--Report from Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News