The Philippine Coast Guard confirmed that the Chinese bulk carrier vessel MV Tai Hang 8 was involved in an “allision” with the fishing boat Ruel J, owned by a resident of Puerto Princesa City, in the waters off Occidental Mindoro, on the afternoon of December 5.
An “allision,” in maritime parlance, refers to an incident in which a moving vessel collides with a stationary object, such as another vessel at anchor. Jaziel Juano, the owner of Ruel J, said her fishing boat was tethered to a payao around 4 p.m. on the said day when it was rammed by the Chinese-flagged bulk carrier that didn’t stop to help.
The PCG said in a statement that it had assisted in rescuing the five fishermen aboard the Ruel J on December 6, following the receipt of reports, coordination with Juano, and with the assistance of three fishing boats in the towing operations near Pandan Island, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.
“According to the fishermen, their boat was lying in Paluan waters attached to a payao, a type of fish aggregating device, when they were hit by MV Tai Hang 8. They also shared that they were left adrift as the foreign vessel continued its voyage,” the PCG said.
Juano told Palawan News that the crew on her fishing boat observed individuals on the Chinese vessel gazing in their direction as they escaped onto their smaller service boat just moments before the ramming.
“Hindi man lang daw huminto kahit nakita naman sila. Kasi may mga tao din daw sa barko na nakatingin sa mga tao ko sa bangka. Hindi man lang nila tinulungan,” she claimed.
“Sana naman panagutan nila ang nangyari,” she added.
Upon arriving at the Port of Sablayan, the PCG ensured that the fishermen were all in good physical condition and provided them with essential supplies. They were Junrey Sardan, the boat captain, Joshua Barbas, Bryan Pangatungam, Cristian Arizala, and Ryan Daus.
“The PCG advised Ruel J’s captain and owner to file a marine protest and assured them that they will report the incident to the bulk carrier’s flag state and Port State Control Office in adherence to maritime incident procedures and investigate the incident further,” the PCG said.
Juano, a resident of Barangay Bagong Sikat, has appealed to the PCG for assistance in recuperating her losses, as her sole source of income was rendered unusable due to the incident.
Additionally, she mentioned that the livelihood of the families of the five fishermen relies on the earnings generated when the boat embarks on its six-month fishing trips.
“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.