The left photo displays the suspected Chinese cargo ship, while the right photo depicts the remnants of the fishing boat Ruel J, which submerged after it was rammed. (Photos courtesy of Jaziel Juano)

A Chinese cargo ship is suspected of ramming a fishing boat around 4 p.m. on December 5, about 40 nautical miles off the coast of Punduhan in the town of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.

Jaziel Juano, the owner of fishing boat Ruel J, a resident of the Liberty area in Barangay Bagong Sikat, Puerto Princesa City, said Thursday that the incident happened while it was anchored and tied to a “payao,” an aggregating device for handline fishing.

“Nagpapahinga sila at naghihintay na dumilim. Doon sila magpapailaw ng generator at doon na rin sila mangingisda. Habang nakatali sila sa payao, nabangga sila ng barko,” she said.

“Noong nakita nila na tatargetin sila noong barko, ibinaba na lang nila yong [maliit] na service boat para makalayo sila. Pero yong pagbaba daw nila, kahit malayo na sila, tumalsik pa rin daw ang maliit na bangka dahil sa impact. Yong bangka namin, wasak na,” she added.

Juano said that she received information from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) stationed in Sablayan that the cargo vessel, which had collided with her fishing boat and did not stop to help, had originated from the Busuanga municipality area and was en route to Indonesia.

She is currently requesting assistance from the PCG in determining with accuracy whether the markings on the cargo vessel’s hull in the images they have suggest that it is of Chinese origin. Additionally, she aims to identify the company that operates the vessel to facilitate potential compensation for the damages incurred.

She implored that their family, along with the families of the five crew members who, fortunately, survived the incident, depended solely on their three-tonnage fishing boat for their livelihood.

“Ang nabanggit nila isang Chinese [vessel] daw yong nakabunggo. Sana maibalik naman yong kabuhayan namin, yon lang ang source of income ng pamilya ko, at saka ng mga pamilya ng mga tao ko kasi habang naglalaot sila, naghihintay din yong pamilya nila na may kita silang maiiuwi,” she said.

She stated that Ruel J had only been in the area for two weeks, and it was supposed to stay there for six months as customary.

The crew members are still in Sablayan, waiting to return to Puerto Princesa City.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.