Philippines, Taiwan coast guards face off in Batanes

Philippines, Taiwan coast guards face off in Batanes
Members of the Taiwanese investigation team inspect the MCS 3001, the ship involved in the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman.

Philippine and Taiwanese coast guard ships challenged each other at sea last week, a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) official said Wednesday.

"The Philippine Coast Guard confirms the standoff last May 25 between PCG- Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources operatives patrolling Batanes area with the Taiwan Coast Guard," PCG spokesperson Cmdr. Armand Balilo said.

The PCG ship accosted the Taiwanese fishing boat "Min Jiang Tsai 6" at 18 nautical miles northeast of Batanes at 6:25 p.m.

The Philippine ship was towing the fishing vessel when Taiwan Coast Guard 118 appeared and blocked their path, Balilo said. The Taiwanese coast guard then demanded the release of the Min Jiang Tsai 6.

After a four-hour standoff, the PCG operatives released the Taiwanese fishing boat-reportedly upon instructions of the BFAR.

The incident took place amid efforts of both economies to work on their differences in their overlapping marine economic areas.

In 2013, a Philippine coastguard officer killed a Taiwanese fisherman believed fishing in Philippine waters. The incident sparked outrage from Taiwan.

On May 7, another Taiwanese fishing boat was intercepted by the PCG near Yami Island in Batanes.

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