Beijing expressed gratitude for PH assistance

LENDING HANDS. The country’s Coast Guard extended assistance to seven Chinese nationals whose boat drifted off the waters of Suluan Island, Guiuan in Eastern Samar. Aside from towing their boat to safety, the Chinese nationals were also provided with food and water while they wait for their return to their country.

TACLOBAN CITY-The Philippine Coast Guard based here conducted an inspection of a Chinese vessel that was earlier rescued off the waters of Suluan Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

The Coast Guard led by Lt. Commander Ramil Montemar, Coast Guard chief Eastern Leyte-Tacloban, inspected the MV Kai Da 899 now docked at the San Pedro Bay, four nautical miles away from the Tacloban Port for more than two hours on Saturday(Jan. 28).

He said that they have not found anything illegal or suspicious inside the 496-tonnage vessel though they were able to get a copy of a certificate of deletion of ship registration issued by the Chinese government.

“This means that the vessel is no longer safe for voyage and no longer meets the maritime safety standards,” Montemar said.

Among the information written in the said certificate includes its type of ship which was categorized as a ‘supply boat’ and not a fishing vessel earlier mentioned and with a built date of ‘2018-01-25.’

The same document, issued by the Maritime Safety Administration of the People’s Republic of China, also disclosed that the ship’s registration was deleted on June 16, 2021.
The said vessel, manned by seven crew members, made a distress call while it was located on the Suluan Island on Thursday(Jan.26) night and was towed by Coast Guard to the city on Friday afternoon.

It was learned that it has developed some mechanical problem reason it drifted.
Montemar said that the vessel had developed a problem with its rudder or steering wheel.
He said that they will provide assistance to the crew members to fix the problem.

“The crew members will not be allowed to disembark as the Coast Guard will provide their safety, food and water and even fuel, if necessary,” Montemar said.

They will also ensure that during their anchorage, there will be no possible oil spill, the official added.

All were also checked by the Bureau of Quarantine to ensure that they are free from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as they showed their vaccination cards.

Meantime, due to the language barrier, the Coast Guard will seek for a Chinese translator to determine the names of the seven crew members as they wrote their names in Chinese characters as well their short narrative of the incident.

But it was learned that the vessel serves as a ‘boat supply’ owned by a private company and not a fishing boat as earlier mentioned.

The vessel is being used to provide fuels and other essentials to boats that need them.
Montemar said that he could not say as to how many days the vessel will be anchoring in the country’s waters.

Aside from Coast Guard, joining in the two-hour inspection were personnel from the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation, Bureau of Customs.

The crew members of the Chinese-registered vessel await while the Coast Guard-led group inspected their boat.

Meantime, the Chinese Embassy expressed its thanks to the Coast Guard for providing foods to the distressed Chinese.

“These moves are in line with and concrete implementation of the important consensus reached by our two presidents on strengthening communication and improving dialogue mechanisms between our two Coast Guards, properly managing maritime differences through dialogue and consultation while expanding practical cooperation on the sea,” Ambassador Huang said in the statement.