Manila: The Philippine coast guard says nine fishermen are missing after venturing out to fish near a disputed shoal in the South China Sea.
Coast guard chief Vice Admiral Edmund Tan says the fishermen left northwestern Zambales province on Oct. 1 and headed toward waters south of the Scarborough Shoal but have not returned. He says the fishermen may have encountered stormy weather.
The area around the shoal is claimed by China and the Philippines.
Tan says the coast guard cannot search the seas due to huge waves but has asked passing ships to be on the lookout for the fishermen.
He says the coast guard is verifying a report that one of the fishermen managed to send a cellphone message to a relative to report their location.