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3 Filipino fishermen dead in South China Sea after boat collides with commercial vessel

Three Filipino fishermen died in the disputed South China Sea after their boat was accidentally hit by a passing commercial vessel, the Philippine coast guard said Wednesday.

The fishermen’s boat, F/B Dearyn, was moored in a fishing area in the high seas off the northwestern Philippines when it was hit before dawn on Monday by the passing vessel and capsized, killing its skipper and two crew members. Three other fishermen aboard the Dearyn survived, the coast guard said.

Eight other men were fishing separately on board smaller boats at the time of the accident, officials said.

An initial assessment based on the surviving fishermen’s account and sea traffic at the time of the accident indicated that a crude oil tanker under the flag of the Marshall Islands may have hit the Filipino fishing boat, the coast guard said in a statement.

The Philippine coast guard said it would try to locate the oil tanker and its crew as part of the investigation.

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