Secretary Bautista’s Call for Caution
In a plea to the public, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista called for restraint in refraining from speculations that could impede the ongoing investigation into the tragic maritime collision near the Scarborough Shoal. This incident, which resulted in the loss of three Filipino fishermen’s lives, has sparked concerns and calls for a thorough inquiry.
President’s Call Echoed
Bautista emphasized that his department fully supports President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s appeal for the public not to engage in speculations. He stressed the importance of allowing the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to conduct a comprehensive examination to determine the precise details and circumstances surrounding the collision, which occurred on October 2, 2023.
“As a responsible entity, the DOTr will maintain close coordination with the PCG regarding the subsequent steps following the investigation,”
Bautista stated. He also mentioned that the DOTr eagerly awaits the results of the probe, prioritizing a fact-based approach to the incident.
PCG’s Investigative Process
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has initiated its investigative process, adhering to protocol. One crucial aspect of this process involves collecting statements from the 11 fishermen who survived the collision. These statements are integral to comprehending the sequence of events and circumstances that led to the tragic collision.
Collision Details Emerge
As reported by the PCG, the collision involved a Marshall Islands-flagged crude oil tanker, believed to be the Pacific Anna, and the Filipino fishing boat identified as FFB Dearyn. The incident occurred approximately 85 nautical miles northwest of the Scarborough Shoal, a disputed territory in the South China Sea.
The impact of the collision led to the sinking of the FFB Dearyn, the mother boat, which was moored to a payao, an anchored fish float. Tragically, this incident resulted in the loss of three fishermen’s lives, including the boat’s captain.
Despite the calamity, eleven crew members displayed remarkable resilience and resourcefulness. They used their service boats to vacate the collision site, taking the deceased victims to Barangay Cato in Infanta, Pangasinan.
This incident has raised concerns and questions about maritime safety and the circumstances surrounding the collision. As the investigation unfolds, the nation awaits answers and a thorough examination of the events that transpired on that fateful day.