President Duterte has warned The Philippines would be crushed in a conflict with China (Image: GETTY)
It is believed the vessel that hit the anchored F/B GIMVER 1 was a Chinese fishing ship. After the collision, the boat left the scene and a nearby Vietnamese vessel rescued the crew. Manila has been quiet over South China Sea issues with President Rodrigo Duterte worried about jeopardising economic deals with Beijing.
Both countries claim Recto Bay and claimants in the region have encouraged fishing to boost their claims.
As reported by South China Morning Post, Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana broke with the usual policy saying: “We denounce the actions of the Chinese fishing vessel”.
Mr Lorenzana criticised the “abandoning” of the crew but thanked the Vietnamese vessel for their help.
He said “diplomatic steps” must be taken to prevent a repeat of the incident.
READ MORE: South China Sea tensions SOAR as Philippines begs surrounding nations
Protests have previously taken place outside the Chinese Consulate in Manila (Image: GETTY)
Defence Secretary Teodoro Locsin Junior went