Navy commander in West PH Sea encounter with Vietnamese relieved
2:39 pm | Wednesday, September 27th, 2017
DETAINED A Coast Guard official interviews crewmembers of the Vietnamese fishing boat—Pham To, 34, captain; Pahn Lam, 34; Nguyen Thanh Chi, 49; Phan Van Liem, 41, and Nguyen Van Trong, 41—at the police station in Bolinao, Pangasinan province. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

A Coast Guard official interviews the crew members of the Vietnamese fishing boat identified as Pham To, 34, captain; Pahn Lam, 34; Nguyen Thanh Chi, 49; Phan Van Liem, 41, and Nguyen Van Trong, 41, during an investigation at the police station in Bolinao, Pangasinan province. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

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

Tags: Crew , encounter , fishermen , navy , relieved , Vietnam , West Philippine Sea

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