Think tank: China ships at Julian Felipe, 2019 ramming of PH boat are from same fleet
MANILA, Philippines—Some of the Chinese vessels anchored at Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef) operate from the same base as the Chinese ship that sank a Philippine fishing vessel in Recto (Reed) Bank in 2019.
American think-tank Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) was able to identify the ships in the reef from photos and videos released by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
Some of the two dozen ships clearly identified by AMTI were Yuemaobinyu 42881, 42882, 42883, 42885, and 42886. These were cross referenced using commercial AIS database Marine Traffic.
These ships have the same name with the Chinese vessel that rammed and sank Filipino fishing vessel FB Gem-Ver1 in 2019, which left 22 Filipino fishermen for dead at Recto Bank until a Vietnamese boat rescued them. The Chinese ship in this case was Yuemaobinyu 42212.
“In early 2019, the Yuemaobinyu 42212—so named because it operates from the same port as these five—rammed and sank the Philippine fishing vessel FB Gem-Ver 1 at Reed Bank,” AMTI said.
AMTI said that based on the names of the Chinese ships that it tracked, these were based in Guangdong province. The vessel that rammed Gem Ver 1 at Recto Bank came from the same port and its name starts with “Yue”, a shorthand for Guangdong, and ends with “Yu”, which means fish.
The “Maobin” in Yuemaobinyu is short for Maoming Binhai New Area, which in 2012 was established as part of Dianbai District in Maoming, AMTI said, which led to these vessels being renamed from “Yuedianyu” to “Yuemaobinyu.”
The AMTI said it observed that the vessels “defy commercial explanation.”
“Most have remained in the area for weeks or even months, riding at anchor in clusters without engaging in any fishing activity. Many are trawlers which, by definition, must move to fish,” it said.
AMTI said in 2019 that the Chinese vessel that rammed Gem Ver was likely a Chinese militia boat but could not prove it at that time.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said then that the Chinese boat was not part of a maritime militia but was a Chinese trawler from Hong Kong.
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