Philippines Re-supply Vessels Evade Harassing Chinese Militia Boats

Chinese vessels reportedly struck and damaged a Filipino resupply boat and a Coast Guard ship on Oct. 22.
  • Bureau
  • 08:28 AM, November 10, 2023
  • 670
Philippines Re-supply Vessels Evade Harassing Chinese Militia Boats
BRP Sierra Madre @Philippine media

Philippine Navy vessels today evaded harassment by Chinese Coast Guard boats and managed to complete their resupply mission to the Philippine Navy ship BRP Sierra Madre (LS-57) which is anchored at the Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

This is the third such incident in two months. In the previous incident, a Chinese coast guard vessel rammed the side of a Philippine navy ship that was enroute to supply the BRP Sierra Madre. While China claims the WPS as its own, Manila has stationed a decommissioned ship near the Ayungin Shoal to maintain its claim over what it calls as its exclusive economic zone.

"At 0730H (7:30 a.m.) today, 10 November 2023, CCG and CMM (Chinese maritime militia) vessels recklessly harassed, blocked, and executed dangerous maneuvers in another attempt to illegally impede or obstruct a routine resupply and rotation mission to BRP Sierra Madre at Ayungin Shoal. CCG vessel 5203 deployed a water cannon against Philippine supply vessel M/L Kalayaan in an illegal though unsuccessful attempt to force the latter to alter course," the National Task Force-West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) said in a statement.

The NTF-WPS said supply boats Unaizah Mae 1 (UM-1) and M/L Kalayaan were also subjected to "extremely reckless and dangerous harassment at close proximity" by CCG rigid-hulled inflatable boats inside the Ayungin Shoal lagoon as the Filipino vessels were approaching the BRP Sierra Madre.

"Nonetheless, both supply boats were able to successfully reach LS-57," NTF-WPS said.

The task force said the Philippine Embassy in Beijing has protested these incidents before the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs has also reached out to them and conveyed our protest directly through the Maritime Communications Mechanism. We firmly insist that Chinese vessels responsible for these illegal activities leave the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal immediately," it added.

The NTF-WPS also condemned China's latest unprovoked acts of coercion and dangerous maneuvers against a legitimate Philippine rotation and resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal, which has put the lives of Filipino crew members at risk.

"The systematic and consistent manner in which the People's Republic of China carries out these illegal and irresponsible actions puts into question and significant doubt the sincerity of its calls for peaceful dialogue," it noted.

The NTF-WPS said Manila has always acted responsibly, consistent with a rules-based international law, on the basis of the United Nations Conventions on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 Arbitral Award.

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