14 Filipino fishermen disappear after boat collided with Chinese vessel

The Philippine Coast Guard was on Monday looking for 14 Filipino fishermen who disappeared the day before in the South China Sea after their boat collided with a Chinese cargo ship off the coast of Mindoro.

The Coast Guard identified the ship as the MV Vienna Wood, Efe news quoted Captain Armando Balilo, spokesman for the Coast Guard, as saying.

The Coast Guard BRP Boracay boat resumed search operations at dawn on Monday and is combing the waters of Mindoro to locate the fishermen, in addition to having launched an aerial search.

The Vienna Wood had departed from the Philippine port of Subic, and was sailing to Australia when it collided with the Philippine fishing vessel Liberty 5 early Sunday morning at Cabo Calavite, Balilo said.

The vessel’s owner, Irma Fishing and Trading, reported the boat as missing after it did not dock at Navotas in the morning and was found capsized hours later, with no trace of any of its crew.

A search for diving was started on Sunday afternoon around the wrecked ship, which suffered severe damage with the central section of the hull sunk, but was cancelled at dusk.

In June last year, another Chinese ship sank a Philippine boat and drifted 22 Filipino fishermen some 300 km southwest of Reed Atoll, an area of the disputed South China Sea.

A Vietnamese ship rescued the 22 Filipinos after the collision, in an event that caused great outrage in the Philippines, where President Rodrigo Duterte, who has guided his foreign policy towards China, played down the issue.

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