A Taiwanese fishing boat yesterday collided with a Japanese government vessel about 12 nautical miles (22.2km) west of the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), with no reports of injuries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement yesterday.
The Suao-registered Hsin Ling Po 236 was hit by the Japanese Coast Guard’s PS-32 at about 2pm, the statement said, adding that all crew members on the Taiwanese ship were safe.
The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) received a report of the collision at 2:30pm and sent the patrol boat Keelung to the scene to rendezvous with the Hsin Ling Po 236 at 5:29pm, it said in a separate statement.
The starboard side of the fishing boat was damaged, the coast guard said, adding that it collected evidence and attempted to contact the Japanese vessel, but it left without responding.
The Fisheries Agency and the CGA have launched an investigation into the incident, and once complete, the ministry would ask Japan to address the matter and ensure maritime safety near the islands — known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan — the ministry said.
It would also ask Japan to refrain from “any inappropriate behavior” against Taiwanese fishing boats, the ministry added.
According to sources in Yilan County’s Suao Township (蘇澳), 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 is to be escorted home by the CGA’s patrol boat, the sources said.
Taiwan, Japan and China all claim ownership of the Diaoyutais, which are about 185km kilometers northeast of Taiwan’s northern tip, 415km from Naha in Okinawa and 505km from Ningbo in China.
Taiwan and Japan in 2013 signed a agreement under which Taiwanese fishermen are allowed to operate within a designated zone near the islands.
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