Suspect 'killer' freighter sails free to China

26th February 2004, Comments 0 comments

MANILA, Feb 26 (AFP) - A Philippine-flagged freighter, accused of having sunk a French trawler, has passed the port of Djibouti without incident and is heading for China, the owners said Thursday.

MANILA, Feb 26 (AFP) - A Philippine-flagged freighter, accused of having sunk a French trawler, has passed the port of Djibouti without incident and is heading for China, the owners said Thursday.

Vincent Miranda, company director of the Victoria Shipping and Management, also said there had been no attempts to detain the Seattle Trader in international waters despite accusations that it hit the trawler and killed five French fishermen.

"They have passed through Djibouti without incident," Miranda told AFP, adding that there had been no further word from either the French of Philippine government on the matter.

"We are confident that it is not the vessel (involved in the sinking) and if they examine it in China, that is the end of it," Miranda said.

The company has pledged to cooperate in finding those responsible for the January 15 sinking in the English Channel of the Bugaled Breizh which left five French fishermen dead.

The 39,000-ton bulk carrier Seattle Trader is one of six ships being investigated for a possible role in the boat's sinking.

Miranda had earlier said they were willing to have the freighter inspected at a neutral venue but did not want it inspected in Djibouti.

A Philippine foreign department source said that France was sending a special fact-finding team to Manila to look into the incident.

French embassy spokesmen could not be contacted for comment.

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

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