Philippine official seeks strong protest over boat sinking

The Philippine defense chief will recommend Manila file a strongly worded diplomatic protest after a fishing boat was hit in the disputed South China Sea by a suspected Chinese vessel that abandoned the 22 Filipino fishermen as their boat sank.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana strongly condemned the sinking of the F/B Gimver 1 on Sunday due to the collision at Reed Bank off western Palawan province and the abandonment of its Filipino crew. A Vietnamese boat rescued them.

Lorenzana told The Associated Press on Thursday, "A strongly worded diplomatic protest is in order" and added that the Filipino fishermen say the vessel that hit theirs was Chinese.

The Philippine coast guard said Wednesday it was checking whether those involved were Chinese fishermen or from other neighboring countries like Vietnam.