Philippines has 'exclusive jurisdiction' over probe into boat collision with Hong Kong: Palace

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 01 2020 01:54 PM

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The Philippines has "exclusive jurisdiction" on the investigation into the collision between a local fishing boat and a Hong Kong cargo ship that left 14 Filipinos missing since the weekend, Malacañang said Wednesday. 

The boats crashed early Sunday in waters southwest of Manila, capsizing the Philippine fishing vessel Liberty 5 off the coast of Occidental Mindoro province. The captain of the cargo ship Vienna Wood, which is registered in Hong Kong, called for help "a few hours later," the coast guard earlier said. 

"Because it happened in Philippine waters, it's Philippine exclusive jurisdiction," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque told ANC. 

"It will be Philippine Courts that will determine both criminal and civil liability," he added. 

The Philippines has a poor shipping safety record, with scores dying in mishaps at sea each year, usually aboard wooden-hulled outriggers that move people from one small island to another.

There have also been incidents allegedly linked with maritime disputes.

In June last year, a Chinese fishing trawler hit a Filipino boat near Reed Bank, an area of the South China Sea within Manila's territory but which is also claimed by Beijing.

Vietnamese fishermen rescued 22 Filipinos after that collision, which left President Rodrigo Duterte facing accusations of defending Beijing. 

Duterte has tried to downplay the case, calling it an "accident" and accepting Beijing's offer to conduct a joint investigation. 

— With a report from Agence France-Presse