'Reef crash' Vietnamese cargo crew held in Philippines

Philippine Coast Guard (June 2013)
Image caption The Philippine Coast Guard vigilantly defends the country's reefs

Eighteen Vietnamese crew members have been detained after their cargo ship hit a coral reef in the central Philippines, the coastguard has said.

The ship - the Unicorn Logger - was heading from Malaysia to deliver logs to Japan when it hit the reef.

In April, 12 Chinese fishermen were charged with poaching after their boat ran aground on the protected Tubbataha reef park, a UN World Heritage site.

A US Navy ship also crashed into the Tubbataha reef in January.

The navy was fined for reef damage and made to pay the costs of dismantling of the ship.

Coastguard spokesman Armand Balilo told the AFP news agency that the Unicorn Logger ran aground off the tiny island of Sambawan on Friday.

"The crew are detained aboard their vessel as the damage to the reef is assessed," he said.

Officials say the vessel will be towed for repairs to a shipyard in the central port of Cebu once the extent of its damage is verified.

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