Chinese Navy ship aids injured Filipino fisherman in Spratlys
MANILA, Philippines — Despite the animosities between the Philippines and China over their maritime disputes in the South China Sea, the crew of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA-N) ship came to the aid of a Filipino fisherman who was injured in the area of the Spratly Islands, the Chinese Embassy in Manila said on Saturday.
According to the embassy, the Chinese ship on Friday encountered a small boat with one Filipino fisherman who was injured by his boat’s propeller blades.
It said that the PLA Southern Theater Command Navy and the South China Sea division of the China Coast Guard (CCG) reported that the fisherman was losing blood, prompting a Chinese medic to examine his wound and bring him on board the ship for further treatment.
“On board the vessel, PLA naval medics cleansed the fisherman’s wounds, stopped the bleeding, and bandaged the wounds. The vessel also provided the fishermen with food and medical supplies, including drinking water, antibiotics, and painkillers,” the embassy said in a statement on Saturday.
The embassy said that after giving first aid to the fisherman, the medics returned him to his boat. The CCG then informed the Philippine Navy about what happened through the Coast Guard communication hotline between Beijing and Manila. PCG spokesperson Rear Adm. Armand Balilo confirmed the embassy report but said no details were immediately available.
The Chinese Embassy also did not add other details.
In a phone interview on Saturday, Balilo said it was the AFP Western Command (Wescom), which took custody of the fishermen from the PLA-N.
According to AFP Wescom spokesperson Commander Ariel Coloma, the two injured Filipino fishermen were rescued by the Chinese Navy around 1 p.m. on Sept. 17 in the waters of Hubo (Hardy) Reef, located at the south of Rozul (Iroquois) Reef and around 200 kilometers west of mainland Palawan province.
“The injured fishermen were eventually transferred to the Philippine Navy’s BRP Antonio Luna (FF 151) in Escoda (Sabina) Shoal around 6 p.m. on the same day,” he said.
The Philippines says the Spratlys are within the country’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone and part of the Kalayaan Island Group under Kalayaan municipality in Palawan.