MANILA, Philippines — Philippine coast guard officials say they’ve launched a search for five Filipinos who failed to return after fishing in the disputed Scarborough Shoal in bad weather off the country’s northwest.
Coast guard spokesman Armand Balilo said Monday the fishermen left the shoal due to an approaching typhoon last week and have not been heard from. He said boats and ships passing in the area have been alerted.
Balilo said the Philippine coast guard plans to coordinate its search with its Chinese counterpart in the Scarborough area.
China seized the shoal in 2012 after a maritime standoff with Philippines. Chinese coast guard ships have been blocking Filipino fishermen from the shoal but were allowed back after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte discussed the territorial rift with Chinese President Xi Jinping last month.