Chinese militia vessels spotted at Sabina Shoal off Puerto Princesa
MANILA, Philippines — Chinese militia vessels were recently spotted loitering at Sabina Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
Seven Chinese militia ships were sighted “nested or in stationary linear formation” at the shoal during a patrol of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) last April 27, the National Task Force West Philippine Sea said on Tuesday (May 4).
Sabina Shoal is located 130 nautical miles, or 240 kilometers, west of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan province, within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The crew of PCG’s BRP Cabra issued a series of challenges to the Chinese vessels, but did not get a response, the task force said. After 20 minutes, however, the Chinese ships dispersed and left the shoal.
When the BRP Cabra returned to the shoal two days later on April 29, five Chinese vessels were seen in the area. But the ships left after the PCG vessel arrived, the task force said.
The Philippines bolstered its presence in its EEZ after China parked hundreds of militia vessels at Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef in March.
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