Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. refused to ask other Asian countries to join the search and rescue operations for missing Filipino seafarers of the cargo vessel Gulf Livestock 1 that sank off Japan.
In a tweet, Locsin explained that to do so "is an attack on the sovereignty of Japan."
He reiterated that Japan did not stop in its search and continued it even “against protocol.”
“The Japanese government and ambassador and I are on this and Japan did not cease its search that Saturday but had in fact continued it against protocol. On the other hand, I refuse to ask other Asian powers to join in the search because that is an attack on the sovereignty of Japan,” Locsin said.
Locsin was reacting to the letter sent to him by Senator Risa Hontiveros calling on the Japanese government to expand its search and rescue efforts with the help of other countries.
The Gulf Livestock 1 crew was made up of 39 Filipinos, 2 New Zealanders and 2 Australians. The boat was traveling from Napier in New Zealand to the Chinese port of Tangshan.
It issued a distress call September 2 as Typhoon Maysak passed through the area, setting off a desperate search for the 43 crew on board.
It had experienced engine problems before: a 2019 observer report by Australian authorities noted that the boat was forced to drift at sea for 25 hours after an issue with its main engine while en route to China.
Earlier, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V said Japanese authorities did not stop looking for the missing crew members, 39 of whom were Filipinos.
Two Filipinos have been rescued alive while the remains of another Filipino were recovered. With a report from Agence France-Presse