Chinese envoy conveys sympathy on ferry fire off Quezon; 7 dead

Published May 26, 2022, 1:58 PM

by Betheena Unite

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian expressed sympathy over the death of seven passengers of the MV Mercraft 2 which caught fire in Real, Quezon.

MV Mercraft 2 catches fire while sailing at sea in Real, Quezon on May 23, 2022. (Courtesy of Philippine Coast Guard)

“It was heartbreaking to learn that 7 people died after a vessel carrying 124 passengers, excluding crew members heading to Real, Quezon, caught fire,” Huang said in a statement dated May 24.

“On behalf of my Embassy, I express our profound sympathy and heartfelt condolences,” he added.

While expressing condolences to the loved ones of the victims, the ambassador also noted that the incident, which is now being probed by the Philippine Coast Guard, “highlights the need to reinforce ferry safety capacity building.”

The Chinese diplomat cited that with the Philippines and other fellow ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) members, China has initiated ARF workshops on Ferry Safety since 2017.

“The collaborative efforts emphasized the importance of proactive participation of member countries, ship operators, shipboard personnel, and classification societies in instilling understanding and encouraging actions to promote safety on domestic passenger ferries,” Huang said.

Huang added that through the workshops, China also shared its own best practices in ferry safety capacity building with ASEAN countries including the Philippines.

“In a larger context, maritime safety is part of global security, which closely relates to the people’s livelihood and property security. Last April, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed a Global Security Initiative and stressed that humanity is a community with a shared future where all people rise and fall together,” the ambassador further said.

All countries, he added, need to stay confident and united and build a bright future through security cooperation.

MV Mercraft 2 caught fire on Monday, May 23, while sailing the waters off Baluti Island in Barangay Cawayan, Real, Quezon. It was carrying a total of 157 passengers and crew members.