The 20 crew members of the MV Vienna Wood have been ordered by a local court to remain in the country while awaiting trial for homicide filed against them by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
The crew members, all of whom are Chinese nationals, along with its ship manager, are facing charges of “reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and damage to property” after colliding with Philippine fishing vessel Liberty 5 off the coast of Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro.
According to a publication by The Maritime Executive dated August 7, the crew members of the Hong Kong-flagged MV Vienna Wood are currently held in Batangas while hearing charges for homicide filed by the PCG.
A “hold departure order” (HDO) was petitioned by the PCG and Liberty 5’s owner, Irma Fishing and Trading Co., in early July to prevent the crew members from leaving the country until further notice. The petition was granted by Judge Ulysses Delgado of the regional trial court in Mamburao.
Charges of homicide have been filed against the ship’s manager, Nomikos Transworld Maritime, along with the ship’s 20 crew members. Initially, only seven crew members – namely ship captain Zhang Wei Wei, third officer Shi Bin, second officer Yi Lei, chief officer Yang Xifeng, Fan Qoujin, Xia Zhen, and Wang Xingtu – were issued an HDO. However, the regional court ruled that all 20 crew members be held in the country to await trial.
The ship, docked in Batangas Bay since mid-July, collided with the fishing vessel Liberty 5 in late June.
The fishing vessel’s 14 crew members, majority of whom are from Palawan, are feared to be dead after several days of search operations yielded no results.