Coast Guard official laments 'lack of coordination' after deadly sea collision

Rowegie Abanto, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 05 2023 11:30 AM

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MANILA — A Philippine Coast Guard official on Thursday lamented the supposed lack of coordination of sea operators following a deadly collision this week near Scarborough Shoal.

On Monday, a foreign vessel believed to be the Marshall Islands-flagged Pacific Anna struck Philippine fishing boat Dearyn and killed 3 Filipino fishers, including the captain. Eleven members of the crew survived the incident. 

Courtesy: PCG
Courtesy: PCG

The Coast Guard, quoting a member of the crew, said that the fishing boat was moored to a payao — a floating fish aggregating device — when the collision happened.

Alexander Corpuz, commander of the Coast Guard Pangasinan, told ANC that operators should report the location of their payao. 

"Supposedly, nila-log nila 'yan kung ano 'yung mga location ng payao nila para po sa amin maibato nila 'yung coordinates, latitude at longitude, at maibibigay natin through... notice to mariners," he said.

"At maipapaalam natin sa navigators na dumadaan sa area po natin na merong payao sa area natin."

(They are supposed to log the locations of their payao so we can give them through... notice to mariners and inform the navigators of the location of payaos.)

The investigation will look into whether or not the boat's operator had informed the authorities about the payao's location at sea, he said. 

When asked if the foreign vessel was out of lane, Corpuz said, "I would only assume na di po napasama sa voyage plan nila ‘yung pagdaan doon sa payao na 'yon."

(I would only assume that their voyage plan did not include going through the payao.)


The Coast Guard official said the foreign vessel was not absolved from any responsibility even if it claimed the incident was an accident.

Citing the rules of the road at sea, Corpuz said the owner, captain, or crew of the foreign vessel are "not exonerated" from responsibility during a collision.

"Regardless kung hindi nila nakita or nakita man nila at wala silang ginawang aksiyon para tulungan ‘yung mga mangingisdang iyon, they’re liable. Hindi sila exempted sa batas na iyon as per rules of the road," he explained.

(Regardless if they didn't see it or if they saw it and didn't take any action to help those fishermen, they're liable. They are not exempted from that law as per the rules of the road.)

The vessel could have also violated the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea when it failed to conduct immediate search and rescue operations after the collision, he said.