The Philippine Star reported that BRP Rizal, an Auk class ship of the Philippine Navy, was involved in an "accidental collision" with a Chinese fishing vessel in Recto Bank. Both Vice Admiral Alexander Pama, PN FOIC and MGEN Juancho Sabban, head of the Western Command have confirmed the incident. However, the Department of Foreign Affairs has yet to receive a communication on the matter from the Chinese embassy.
The Philippine Star described the incident as follows:
“It happened at about 6 a.m. within the vicinity of the Recto Bank involving our own PS-74 and a Chinese mother ship,” Sabban told The STAR in a telephone interview.
“Our ship went to their direction to check as we normally do,” Pama also said.
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Sabban said the Navy’s PS-74 chanced upon the Chinese vessels and made a maneuver to take a closer look.
“As our patrolling ship was approaching to check on the encroaching Chinese vessels, it incurred a steering problem and accidentally hit the mother ship of the Chinese fishermen,” Sabban said.
He said big waves affected the ship’s steering, causing it to move uncontrollably toward the Chinese vessels. After being rammed by the Navy gunboat, the Chinese vessel quickly disengaged and released the smaller boats.
“After cutting the towing line, the mother ship fled, leaving behind 25 sampans it was towing,” Sabban said.
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