Eighteen Chinese vessels with 250 fishermen on innocent passage

Earlier it was reported that 18 Chinese fishing vessels were intercepted near a small island in Mindanao.

In a report from a government news agency, the said 18 Chinese fishing vessels were carrying an estimated 250 crew members.

After an investigation, Naval Task Group 61 commander Captain Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said these vessels are on innocent passage. “They have a note verbale from the Department of Foreign Affairs. They have an authorized passage here though their departure [from Indonesia] came early.”

“Their pre-plotted course is from Indonesia, they’ll enter our waters, passing through Basilan Strait, then Sulu Sea, then Balabac Straits, then they’ll exit West Philippine Sea, then South China Sea on their way to China,” Bacordo added.

Due to bad weather caused by typhoon Ruby, the fishermen only wanted to seek shelter off the coast of Langhil Island, Basilan.

According to the report, BRP Subanon (AT-291) and one of multi-purpose assault craft (BA-487) were utilized during the said interception and investigation.