An oil tanker registered under the Marshall Islands flag collided with a Philippine fishing boat on Monday. The incident happened around 4:20 in the morning in Scarborough Shoal.
Deadly Collision with an Oil Tanker
Crude oil tanker Pacific Anna struck a Philippine fishing boat, FFB Deary. The huge foreign vessel carries the flag of the Marshall Islands. The occurrence was regarded as an ”accidental collision” and the government would communicate with the massive vessel’s authorities.
According to the Philippine Coast Guard, the unfortunate circumstance happened on October 2. During that time, the fishing boat was traversing 157km northwest of the contested Scarborough Shoal. The captain died, including two crew members, while 11 survived the crash.
“We assure the victims, their families, and everyone that we will exert every effort to hold accountable those who are responsible for this unfortunate maritime incident,” said Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
He added that the accident is being investigated to confirm the details and situations regarding the crash. Likewise, he asked the public to let the PCG handle and investigate the incident and stop speculating for now.
Assumptions will surely arise following the growing tensions in the disputed Scarborough Shoal, also known as Bajo de Masinloc or Panatag Shoal. Recently, the PCG removed a 300-metre ball buoy barrier placed by the China Coast Guard to deter fishermen from fishing in the area.
South China Sea, A Dangerous Waterway
Gigantic container ships including oil tankers traverse regularly along the South China Sea’s 1.3 million square mile waterway. This shipping canal is crucial to international trade with a projected third of worldwide shipping worth trillions of dollars passing through annually.
Moreover, the sea serves as a huge and rich fishing ground for locals who make fishing their livelihood. Most often, they just use smaller vessels and practice sustainable fishing using long lines. But at the same time, the area is a catastrophe zone.
It’s no secret that China has secured the Scarborough Shoal, while several Southeast Asian nations also claim parts of the sea. This small but rich atoll and piscage lies 130 miles west of Luzon.
Based on a 2016 international tribunal in The Hague, China has no lawful basis to claim historic rights to the extent of the South China Sea. However, the communist country just ignored the rule and continued to occupy the vast area, chasing away local fishermen.