Navy commander in West PH Sea encounter with Vietnamese relieved
The commanding officer of patrol ship PS-19 Miguel Malvar was relieved of his post pending an investigation on the West Philippine Sea encounter that left two Vietnamese fishermen dead, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Wednesday.
“Both the AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Año and Navy Flag Officer-in-Command Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado ordered a thorough and impartial inquiry on the unfortunate incident involving a Philippine Navy vessel and one of six Vietnamese fishing vessels,” AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said.
Mercado ordered the relief of the ship captain while the rest of the crew were on restrictive custody aboard the ship.
This is “to make them available for the duration of the investigation; and commissioned third party investigators like the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Coast Guard to do an independent inquiry.”
The identities of the Navy personnel were not immediately available.
An internal investigation will also be conducted, Arevalo said.
Based on reports received by the Department of National Defense, a Navy ship chased a Vietnamese vessel caught illegally fishing 34 nautical miles off Cape Bolinao over the weekend. The ship fired warning shots at the vessel as they tried to evade arrest.
Upon the search of the Navy personnel on the Vietnamese fishing vessel, the security forces found two Vietnamese dead.
An investigation surrounding the circumstances of the death of the fishermen is ongoing. /je
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