The Occidental Mindoro Prosecutor’s Office office has dismissed charges filed by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) against Hong Kong cargo ship MV Vienna Wood, which reportedly hit Filipino-owned fishing boat Liberty 5 off Mamburao in June.
PCG spokesman Armand Balilo told reporters yesterday that the HK ship and its crew members were allowed to leave the country on Sept. 17 after complaints of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and damage to property were dismissed.
Fourteen Filipino fishermen aboard the rammed ship remain missing since the collision. Despite weeks of search and rescue, the PCG were unable to find signs of life.
Balilo said that the owners of MV Vienna Wood, Liberty 5, and the families of the 14 missing Filipinos have arrived at a settlement agreement, which was grounds for dismissing the complaints. The spokesman could not give further details about the agreement.
The PCG had filed charges against MV Vienna Wood officers Zhang Weiwei, Shin Bin, Yi Lei, and Yang Xileng, along with shipping company Nomikos Transworld Maritime. The coast guard said that the Hong Kong ship rammed into the Filipino boat in the wee hours of the morning on June 29 due to “rough seas” after which the foreign crew members sent out a distress call. PCG was able to track the Filipino boat but its passengers weren’t on board.
PCG Commandant Vice-Admiral George Ursabia Jr had earlier condemned the HK-flagged ship for allegedly not sending rescue boats to help the Filipino fishermen after the collision despite having the means to do so.
This isn’t the first time that a Filipino fishing boat has crashed into foreign vessels.
In June last year, a Chinese-owned trawler rammed against a Filipino fishing boat off the coast of Palawan. The Chinese crew members abandoned some 22 Filipino fishermen who were left floating at sea for hours. They were later rescued by Vietnamese seafarers who responded to their call for help. The boat crash led to widespread fury among Filipinos. However, President Rodrigo Duterte, who maintains a cozy relationship with Beijing, dismissed the seriousness of the incident and said it was just a maritime accident.
This article, Mindoro prosecutors junk criminal case against HK ship that rammed Pinoy fishing boat, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.