MANILA, Philippines — The dredging vessel recently seized for “illegal and unauthorized presence” in Philippine waters was not a Chinese vessel, the Chinese Embassy in Manila claimed Wednesday.
“We have noticed some media speculation and reports on a so-called ‘Chinese dredging ship MV Zhonhai 68’,” the embassy said in a statement.
“Initial investigation on the identity of MV Zhonhai 68 by relevant Chinese authorities has shown that the ship is NOT registered in China and NOT a Chinese ship. It is also noted that there was NO Chinese national on the dredging ship when it was found,” it added.
Citing information from the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the embassy said the ship is under the flag of Sierra Leone.
It was earlier reported that the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Customs seized MV Zhonhai 68, identified in reports as a Chinese vessel, around 13 kilometers southwest off Orion Point in Bataan province.
Cmdr. Armand Balilo, spokesperson for the PCG, said that while the dredging ship was flying the Sierra Leone flag, one of the flags of convenience used by the Chinese to take advantage of lower taxes and cheap labor, “its ownership is still China.” (Continue Reading…)