Joint Statement on the incident involving a Philippine MCS Patrol vessel and Taiwanese Fishing vessels east of Balintang Island, May 10, 2013

Joint Statement of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the Philippine Coast Guard:
On the incident involving a Philippine MCS Patrol vessel and Taiwanese Fishing vessels east of Balintang Island

[Issued on May 10, 2013]

We received a report that on May 9, 2013, MCS 3001 jointly manned by elements of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Philippines Coast Guard (PCG), encountered four foreign fishing vessels within Philippine Archipelagic waters. Based on the report, our MCS 3001 tried to board one of the vessels and in ensuring maneuvers, one of the Taiwanese fishing vessels repeatedly tried to ram our MCS forcing our MCS to fire warning shots and eventually, on the machinery portion of the vessel to disable the same.

While the maneuver is happening, MCS 3001 detected the presence of unidentified grey and white ships forcing them to withdraw and return back to port. MCS 3001 was not able to verify what happened to the fishing vessels. We now have information that one of the Taiwanese fishermen died.

This incident is very unfortunate and efforts will be instituted to prevent similar occurrences. The government will increase its visibility in the area to prevent future incursions in our waters.

We sympathize with the family of the fisherman who died and we assure them of a transparent and impartial investigation. The PCG will relieve all personnel on board MCS 3001 of their duties and restrict their movement to make sure that they are available to the investigators while the investigation is ongoing.

We will keep you posted of all noteworthy developments of the investigation.