An official says the Philippine navy has apologized to China for accidentally ramming one of its fishing boats near the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
Defense Department spokesman Zosimo Paredes said Wednesday the navy has informed the Chinese Embassy of the incident and apologized for it.
He said a navy ship on Tuesday spotted a Chinese fishing vessel encroaching on Philippine waters near Reed Bank, which the Philippines claims is within its waters. The vessel was towing about 35 smaller boats.
When the navy ship went to investigate, a problem with its steering mechanism caused it to become entangled with one of the smaller boats.
The Chinese vessel then left, abandoning the smaller boats. Paredes says no one was hurt and that there was little damage.