14 missing after Philippine, HK vessels collide

This June 28, 2020, photo provided by the Philippine Coast Guard, shows the remains of the FV Liberty 5 along the waters off Mamburao town in Mindoro Occidental province, south of Manila, Philippines. (AP)
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Updated 30 June 2020

14 missing after Philippine, HK vessels collide

  • The capsized Liberty 5 was found around 10:00 a.m. on Sunday but without the crew

MANILA: A search and rescue operation is ongoing for 14 people missing from a Philippine fishing boat that collided with a Hong Kong-flagged cargo vessel off the coast of Occidental Mindoro province, authorities said Monday.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said the collision between MV Vienna Wood and the fishing vessel Liberty 5 took place around 1:00 a.m. Sunday in rough waters off Tayamaan, Mamnurao.

PCG spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo said the accident was first reported by the captain of MV Vienna Wood.

“After verifying the incident and acquiring further information from MV Vienna Wood, the PCG immediately activated SAR (search and rescue) operations to rescue the 12 missing fishermen, including its captain, as well as two passengers of the distressed fishing vessel,” Balilo told reporters.

FV Liberty 5, which is home-ported in Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi, was on its way to the Navotas fish port in Metro Manila when the collision occurred.

MV Vienna Wood, a bulk carrier, departed from Subic, Zambales, and was on its way to Australia. The PCG said it had 20 crew members on board. The vessel was carrying no cargo at the time of the incident.

Balilo said the PCG had deployed its ships and air assets to search for the missing Filipinos.

“We also issued a ‘notice to mariners’ for all vessels in the area to be on the lookout for any information regarding the incident.”

The capsized Liberty 5 was found around 10:00 a.m. on Sunday but without the crew. Reports said the boat was severely damaged.

MV Vienna Wood was escorted by the PCG to the port of Batangas.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the incident would be governed by the country’s maritime laws as it happened within the Philippines’ territorial waters.

“This is a matter to be governed by Philippine law,” he said. “This is an issue of Philippine Admiralty Law because the collision occurred in Philippine territorial waters. There is no international law application here other than foreign flagships can sail through under the concept of innocent passage. But as far as the accountability is concerned, Filipinos will be the one to decide on that because the collision happened in our waters.”

He added that there would be no implications for bilateral relations with China. 

“It’s a collision that happened in our waters, so it will be resolved according to our Admiralty Law ... The rules of sea collision are similar to the rules being applied when there are road collisions. So there is no huge implication. It’s just a collision.”


India says Indian, Chinese troops disengaging from standoff

Updated 41 min 12 sec ago

India says Indian, Chinese troops disengaging from standoff

  • Indian officials say a standoff between the two armies began in early May
  • The situation turned deadly when the rival troops engaged in hand-to-hand fighting in the Galwan Valley

NEW DELHI: India’s external affairs minister said Saturday that Indian and Chinese troops are disengaging from a monthslong standoff along the countries’ undemarcated border following a clash last month that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar’s remarks came a day after China’s ambassador to India said that Indian and Chinese front-line troops are disengaging in accordance with an agreement reached by their military commanders.
“It’s very much a work in progress,” Jaishankar said, adding that both sides agreed on the need to disengage because troops are deployed very close to each other.
The Chinese ambassador, Sun Weidong, said Friday that the two countries should be partners rather than rivals and handle their differences properly to bring their ties back on the right track.
Indian officials say a standoff between the two armies began in early May when large contingents of Chinese soldiers entered deep inside Indian-controlled territory at three places in Ladakh.
The situation turned deadly when the rival troops engaged in hand-to-hand fighting in the Galwan Valley, where India is building a strategic road connecting the region to an airstrip close to China. India says that 20 of its soldiers were killed in the June 15 clash and that there were casualties on the Chinese side as well.
China hasn’t confirmed any casualties on its side.
Through video conferencing on Friday, senior foreign ministry officials from the two countries reviewed the progress made in the disengagement process by the two armies at the disputed border, known as the Line of Actual Control.
The disputed border covers about 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles) of frontier and stretches from Ladakh in the north to the Indian state of Sikkim in the northeast.
India and China fought a border war in 1962 that also spilled into Ladakh. The two countries have been trying to settle their border dispute since the early 1990s, without success.