According to a Department of Justice official, the owner and fishermen of the F/B Gem-Ver 1 fishing vessel wrecked by a Chinese ship three years ago at Recto Bank have now received full compensation.
“Full compensation has already been made in favor of the vessel owner and the fishermen,” Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay told reporters.
In April, the Department of Justice announced that the settlement was worth P6 million, which is less than half of the P12 million compensation sought by the crew members and the boat owner.
The victims were paid on May 16, according to Sugay.
The Chinese fishing vessel Yuemaobinyu 42212 collided with the Gem-Ver 1 (Gem-Vir) in Recto Bank in June 2019. It then departed the region and abandoned 22 Filipino fishers who had been clinging to the wreckage of their boat for hours until a Vietnamese ship came to their rescue.
In defense of its fisherman, China stated that the Chinese vessel had no intention of abandoning the Filipinos in trouble but was compelled to leave the area out of fear of being surrounded by multiple additional Filipino vessels.
Victims of Recto Bank incident in 2019 receive P6M in compensation
After the incident, Guangdong Fishery Mutual Insurance Association released an apology letter on behalf of the involved Chinese shipowner. It says, “The shipowner of the Chinese fishing boat involved, through our association, would like to express his sincere apology to the Filipino fishermen.” The letter also offered civil compensation for the cost of the damages inflicted on the Filipinos who were onboard the sunken boat.
The letter was sent just a few hours before President Rodrigo Duterte flew to China for a bilateral meeting. Duterte said he would be assertive in pushing for the Philippines’ right to the South China Sea under the arbitral ruling and China’s rejection.
Then Palace Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, “In relation to this, we accept the recent apology extended by the owner of the Chinese vessel to our fishermen affected by the incident.”