Chinese Ships ‘Harass’ Philippine Vessels


A Chinese vessel used its water cannon, “directly hitting the starboard astern of the BFAR vessel…reports Asian Lite News

Chinese coastguard ships on Tuesday fired water cannons at Filipino vessels bringing supplies to fishermen in waters near a disputed South China Sea shoal that is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, the Philippine Coastguard said.

A Philippine coastguard ship and a vessel from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) were carrying out “a legitimate maritime patrol in the waters near Bajo De Masinloc,” the local name of Scarborough Shoal, “to distribute fuel and food supplies” for fishermen.

“During the patrol, the Philippine vessels encountered dangerous manoeuvres and obstruction from four China coastguard vessels and six Chinese maritime militia vessels,” the coastguard said in a statement.

A Chinese vessel used its water cannon, “directly hitting the starboard astern of the BFAR vessel,” it added. The Chinese also targeted the Philippine coastguard vessel from both sides, “resulting in damage to the railing and canopy.”

“This damage serves as evidence of the forceful water pressure used by the China coastguard in their harassment of the Philippine vessels,” the Philippine coastguard said.

Scarborough Shoal, also known to the Chinese as Huangyan Dao or Democracy Reef, is 230 kilometres from the Philippines’ north-western coast. It is claimed by both China and the Philippines.

The shoal was the focus of a military incident between the two countries in 2012, after which Beijing summarily occupied the reef. Although a court ruled in 2016 that China’s historical claims to the area were invalid, Beijing does not recognise the ruling.

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