Unfortunately, three Filipino fishermen lost their lives when a foreign commercial vessel, whose identity remains unknown, collided with their fishing boat while they were crossing the South China Sea. This update was reported by the Philippine coastguard on Wednesday.
According to a statement, the event took place on Monday when the ship was passing through an area 85 nautical miles (157 km) northwest of the controversial Scarborough Shoal. Eleven members of the crew were able to survive after the ship sank.
Recently, there has been increased tension over the waters in question. This was sparked by the Philippines’ announcement that they removed a 300-meter-long ball-buoy barrier that had been put in place by China’s coastguard near the Scarborough Shoal. This area is a popular fishing spot and is one of the most disputed maritime features in Asia.
In 2012, China took control of the strategic shoal, known for a British cargo ship that got stuck there in the 1700s. Since then, China has kept a continuous presence of coastguard and fishing boats at the atoll.
The Chinese government has denied the Philippine’s explanation of the barrier incident. The United States has shown their support for Manila and promised to uphold their treaty obligations to protect their ally in case of an attack.
The Philippine coastguard did not give further information about the event or disclose any specifics about the ship that allegedly collided with the Filipino crew.