Taipei, A Taiwanese fishing boat collided with a Japanese government vessel in waters 12 nautical miles west of the disputed Diaoyutai Islands, with no reports of injuries, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement.
The Su’ao-registered fishing boat, the “Hsin Ling Po 236,” was hit by the Japanese Coast Guard vessel PS-32 at around 2 p.m., the statement said, noting that all crew members of the Taiwanese ship were safe.
Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said in a separate statement that it received a report of the collision at 2:30 p.m. and sent the “Keelung” patrol boat to the scene, where it met up with the “Hsin Ling Po 236” at 5:29 p.m.
The starboard side of the fishing boat was damaged, according to the CGA.
It said its patrol boat collected evidence at the scene and tried to communicate with the Japanese vessel by radio, but the Japanese ship left without answering.
MOFA said the Fisheries Agency and CGA have launched an investigation into the incident, and that once the results are known, it will respond, including by asking Japan to address the case and ensure maritime safety near the Diaoyutais, which are controlled by the Japanese.
It will also ask Japan to refrain from “any inappropriate behavior” against Taiwanese fishing boats, the ministry said.
Taiwan, Japan and China all claim ownership of the Diaoyutai Islands, which are situated about 185 kilometers northeast of Taiwan’s northern tip, 415 km from Naha in Okinawa and 505 km from Ningbo in China.
To minimize maritime conflicts in overlapping exclusive economic zones, Taiwan and Japan signed a fisheries agreement in 2013 under which Taiwanese fishermen are allowed to operate within a designated zone in waters close to the disputed islands.
Meanwhile, according to fishery sources from Su’ao, Yilan County, the Hsin Ling Po 236 has a crew of seven people (two Taiwanese, three Filipinos and two Indonesians.
The boat was damaged in the collision but did not leak, and it will be escorted home by the CGA’s patrol boat, the sources said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel