Press Release
June 18, 2013


Senator Chiz Escudero called on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to investigate yet another Asian country vessel that ran aground this time on the coral reef sanctuary in Eastern Visayas.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources, learned that a 50-feet Vietnamese vessel named MV Unicorn Lodger bound for Japan and loaded with logs ran aground the island of Sambauan, Maripipi in Biliran.

"We have to know where the vessel came from, where it is going, what business do they have in passing through Philippine shores, and what were they doing that led to the destruction of a large area of yet another of our coral reef sanctuary, a marine protected area," Escudero said.

According to government reports, the boat has 18 Vietnamese crew onboard. The crew is now detained inside the vessel by the local government of Naval, province of Biliran.

Escudero said facts on the specific case have to be uncovered first to find out if this is just an accident or a case similar to its precedents this year.

Last April 8, Chinese fishing vessel F/V Min Long Yu ran aground the Tubattaha reef, a World Heritage listed marine sanctuary, in Palawan damaging the reef more than the damage done by USS Guardian on January 17.

A week ago, authorities said they have deployed a gun boat and a surveillance plane to Tubattaha after a suspected Vietnamese fishing vessel was seen there.

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