MANILA, Philippines — The collision between a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship with a Filipino-manned fishing boat off Occidental Mindoro will be resolved under Philippine laws, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the incident is a matter to be governed by local laws since it happened within the Philippines’ territorial waters.
“This is an issue of Philippine admiralty law because the collision occurred in Philippine territorial waters,” Roque said in an online briefing.
“There is no international law application here other than foreign flag ships can sail through under the concept of innocent passage but as far as accountability is concerned, mga Pilipino po magdedesisyon dyan dahil ang banggaan po ay nangyari sa ating karagatan (it will be the Filipinos who will decide since the collision happened in our waters),” he added.
Roque said it is unlikely that the collision would have diplomatic implications.
“Alam ninyo po, ang rules ng banggaan sa karagatan, parehong-pareho rin po iyan ng rules na ina-apply kapag may banggaan sa kalye. So wala naman pong malaking implikasyon iyan. Banggaan lang po iyan,” Roque said.
(You know what, the rules of collision in the seas are the same as the rules applied in a collision on the roads. So there is no big implication there. It’s just a collision.)
The cargo vessel MV Vienna Wood, which was bound for Australia, collided with Philippine fishing boat Liberty 5 Sunday near Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro.
Fourteen Filipinos went missing after the collision.
The Philippine Coast Guard said it will continue to conduct search operations for the 14 missing Filipino crew.
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