- A Filipino fisherman was rescued by Vietnamese soldiers in the Spratly Islands
- The fisherman said he and four others were aboard a small fishing boat overturned by strong waves
- The fate of his four companions is still unknown
A Filipino fisherman in distress was rescued by several Vietnamese soldiers stationed on Sinh Ton Island; a part of Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratlys) Archipelago on Monday, February 8.
An article dated February 9, 2016 published by People’s Army Newspaper said Vietnamese naval troops found the Filipino fisherman clinging to an upturned boat shouting for help. It said the soldiers took about half an hour to reach and save the man.
The fisherman who was visibly exhausted by the time he was rescued, fainted. He was brought in the island where a doctor treated him.
The following day, when he was in better condition, the Filipino fisherman was able to narrate what really happened.
He said his name is Anton Gradulet, a 34-year-old resident of Nasugbu, Batangas. He told his rescuers he was with four other men in the small fishing boat that was overturned by strong waves, but said he did not know what happened to his four companions.
Their fishing boat was part of 10 small boats being towed by a larger vessel, Jerme, captained by a man named Otoy. Anton said he was part of Jerme’s crew. They left Batangas Port on February 3 and reached an island in the Spratlys 3 days later.
Anton said he and four other men boarded one of the small boats to catch fish around the area. The other crew members did the same and took the remaining small fishing boats, he said.
An official from the Sinh Ton Island Commune People’s Committee said they are trying to contact Vietnam’s Department of Foreign Affairs so the Filipino fisherman could be sent home through diplomatic channels.