MANILA - The Chinese Embassy in Manila on Tuesday said it is ready to assist the Philippines as relevant agencies investigate the collision of a Filipino fishing boat and a Hong Kong-registered cargo vessel off Mamburao town in Occidental Mindoro last June 28.
"Pending the investigation, we hope all parties refrain from politicizing the issue and seeking narrow interests from such a humanitarian strategy," the embassy said in a statement.
It said that the "tragic" incident "shocked and saddened" the embassy, and that their "thoughts and prayers go out to the missing crew members and passengers."
The 12 crew members and two passengers of the Filipino fishing boat Liberty 5 remains missing, while the MV Vienna Wood cargo vessel has been escorted to Batangas Bay.
"We sincerely hope all of them could be rescued at the earliest," the Chinese embassy said of the missing Filipinos.
"During this difficult time, our top priority should be given to the rescue of missing crew members and passengers."
The agency managing the cargo ship said the vessel's crew tried to search for survivors after it collided with the fishing boat.
AM Nomikos said in a statement that as the cargo ship was sailing off the coast of Occidental Mindoro, it crashed into an "object what they had thought to be a fishing boat."
Philippine authorities have deployed aircraft and ships in the hunt for the missing people.
Strong ocean currents interrupted the search Sunday evening, but operations resumed early Monday.
Meanwhile, noting the recent reports by local media about the June 2019 collision incident at the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea involving Chinese and Filipino fishing boats, the embassy said "China has been working closely with the Philippine side to solve the case."
"The concerned Chinese fishing association has already offered a compensation proposal to the Philippine side and has been waiting for formal feedback from the latter," the embassy said.
"In the spirit of cooperation and friendship, we believe the incident will be solved in a proper manner," it added.