Despite China’s attempt to ‘interfere,’ PCG says resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre successful
MANILA, Philippines (Updated) — Despite Chinese vessels attempting to “harass” its crew, the Philippine Coast Guard said they successfully conducted the rotation and resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal on Tuesday.
“The routine follow-on Rotation and Resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre was successfully conducted today, August 22,” the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea said in a statement.
“Notwithstanding attempts by China Coast Guard and Chinese Maritime Militia vessels to block, harass, and interfere with the supply mission, the Philippine supply ships … successfully completed their supply mission,” the task force added.
The task force said Unaizah May 1 and Unaizah May 2 were escorted by PCG vessels BRP Cabra and BRP Sindagan during the mission, while Philippine Navy ships were also on standby.
Last August 5, Chinese coast guard vessels used water cannons against PCG boats on a resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre.
The BRP Sierra Madre is a World War Two-era warship hosting a small contingent of Philippine troops. The Philippines intentionally grounded the commissioned Philippine Navy vessel in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) – a low-tide elevation about 194 kilometers off Palawan province that is well within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone – in 1999 to reinforce the country’s sovereignty claim to the atoll and West Philippine Sea. The vessel symbolizes the Philippines’ defiance against Chinese aggression.
The task force vowed that the resupply mission for the vessel would be conducted regularly.
But the China Coast Guard claimed it had made temporary arrangements for the Philippines to deliver food and necessities on humanitarian grounds.
It also asserted that China firmly opposes the Philippines taking advantage of the opportunity of resupplying troops to transport “illegal” construction materials to the grounded warship on the disputed Ayungin Shoal. With reports from REUTERS
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