The Philippine government on Saturday asked the international community to protect life at sea in cases of maritime distress following the collision between a Chinese vessel and a Filipino fishing boat that sank but was abandoned near the Reed Bank on June 9.
In a statement at the 101st Session of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) dated June 14, the Philippines noted how the Filipino crew “were callously abandoned to the elements on the rough seas and would have perished” if a Vietnamese vessel did not rescue them.
Delivering the statement, Deputy Permanent Representative to the IMO Senen Mangalile highlighted that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the IMO conventions on Safety of Life at Sea and Maritime Search and Rescue have express provisions on rendering assistance to distressed mariners.
“It is the obligation of every responsible member of the UN and the IMO to implement these conventions and related codes concerning maritime safety and security, rather than just paying lip service to them,” Mangalile stressed.
“It is also our moral obligation to save a human life whenever we can do so,” he added.
During the IMO meeting, Mangalile thanked Vietnam on behalf of the Philippine government for the assistance it provided to the 22 distressed Filipino fishermen.
The MSC deals with all matters related to maritime safety and security which falls under the mandate of the IMO. (Joyce Ann L. Rocamora/PNA)