The Philippine government has deployed three patrol vessels to the waters off Thitu Island in the Spratlys as part of an operation to locate seven Chinese fishermen who have been missing for over two weeks.
On Friday, December 24, the Philippine Coast Guard 44-metre multi-role response vessel BRP Capones and two patrol boats of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) were sent to the area off Philippine-occupied Thitu where the fishing vessel Taisha 2985 was last sighted.
The coast guard and BFAR vessels were deployed in fulfilment of a request by the Chinese Embassy in Manila for assistance in the ongoing search and rescue (SAR) operation. This came after the China Coast Guard failed to locate any trace of the boat or its crew since they were initially reported missing on December 10.
The coast guard said additional vessels will be deployed to support the SAR effort and that a notice to mariners has been issued to vessels passing off Palawan province to be on the lookout for the missing sailors.
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