The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) scored anew in their drive to apprehend foreign fishing vessels fishing in Philippine as they nabbed two Chinese vessels in Balintang Channel Monday. The two vessels were apprehended by DA-BFAR MCS 3007 and a PCG vessel within waters bounded by Sabtang Island, Batanes in the north, Balintang Island in the west and Calayan Island in the south at around 4:00 p.m.
The foreign vessels – Shenl Lian Cheng 719 and Shen Lian Cheng 720 – were flying both Chinese and upside down Philippine flags with the red stripe on top, and were crewed by 25 Chinese nationals.
The Chinese said they were just passing through on their way to their fishing grounds outside Philippine waters – showing their empty holds as proof – but were not able to provide the necessary papers for right of passage.
However, Agriculture Undersecretary and BFAR national director Asis Perez said that the mere fact that they were flying the Philippine flag necessitates further investigation.
Upon arrival at Basco, Perez boarded the seized vessels and tried to explain to the crew that flying the flag of another country is in violation of international law.
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