MANILA (UPDATE) — A crude oil tanker vessel "registered under the flag of the Marshall Islands" was involved in the ramming of a Filipino fishing boat off Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal) that left three dead, according to a Philippine Coast Guard report.
The report was shared by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri to reporters Wednesday.
In its report, the PCG categorized the incident as an "accidental collision" involving Filipino Fishing Boat (FFB) DEARYN.
"On October 2, 2023... FFB DEARYN was involved in an accident where it was rammed by an unidentified vessel... According to a survivor's account, while FFB DEARYN was moored at their payao, 8 of its fisherfolk crew members were engaged in fishing ventures while 6 crew members remained on the mother boat. Due to the adverse weather conditions causing darkness, the crew on board the mother boat failed to detect an unidentified vessel approaching, resulting in a collision that caused the mother boat to capsize," the PCG said.
The 3 casualties were identified as boat captain Dexter Laudencia, 47 and crew members Romeo Mejico, 38; and Benedicto Olandria, 62
"After cross-referencing the fishermen's account, the date, and the time, we conducted a thorough check on marine traffic. It turns out that Pacific Anna a crude oil tanker vessel, registered under the flag of Marshall Island, aligns with the details provided by the fishermen," the PCG said.
"The PCG will reach out to the flag of the vessel and next port to be visited by the said vessel to be boarded by the Port State Control Officers," it added.
Ships may be registered under countries that are different from the home country of the company that owns them.
According to the International Transport Worker's Federation, flags of convenience allow ship operators to take advantage of looser regulation or lower registration fees of that country.
According to ship tracking websites MarineTraffic and VesselFinder, the Pacific Anna is sailing for Singapore from Incheon in South Korea and is expected to reach port by October 5.
In another interview over Radyo 630, Corpuz said the boat owner has yet to commit any assistance to the victims.
"Pero kasama sa responsibilidad ng owner ng bangka natin, ng mga tripulante nila, mga workers nila kasama din sa responsibility na bigyan ng assistance ang relatives ng mga nasawi," he added.
Marcos: Let PCG do its job
In a statement on social media site X, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. asked the public to refrain from making speculations on the incident.
Scarborough Shoal, where China last month put up a floating barrier that the Philippine Coast Guard removed , is a hotspot in the West Philippine Sea.
"Let us allow the PCG to do its job and investigate, and let us refrain from engaging in speculation in the meantime," Marcos said.
"The incident is still under investigation to ascertain the details and circumstances surrounding the collision between the fishing boat and a still unidentified commercial vessel," he added.
He assured the victims and their families that the government would hold accountable those responsible for the incident.