China ships hit PH boats on resupply mission in West PH Sea
MANILA, Philippines — China vessels hit an Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)-contracted resupply boat and a Philippine Coast Guard ship in the West Philippine Sea on Sunday morning.
The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) said the AFP-contracted boat was conducting a regular and routine Rotation and Resupply (RORE) mission to BRP Sierra Madre when “dangerous blocking maneuvers” conducted by a China Coast Guard (CCG) ship “caused it to collide” with the Philippine vessel.
“At around 0604H this morning, while conducting a regular and routine Rotation and Resupply (RORE) mission to BRP SIERRA MADRE (LS57), dangerous blocking maneuvers of China Coast Guard vessel 5203 (CCGV 5203) caused it to collide with the Armed Forces of the Philippines-contracted indigenous resupply boat Unaiza May 2 (UM2) approximately 13.5 nautical miles (NM) East Northeast of LS57,” it said in a statement.
“The provocative, irresponsible, and illegal action of CCGV 5203 imperiled the safety of the crew of UM2,” it added.
During the same RORE mission, NTF-WPS said the port side of PCG’s MRRV 4409 was bumped by a Chinese Maritime Militia vessel while at approximately 6.4 NM northeast of Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal).
“The RORE mission is still ongoing, with Unaiza May 1 (UM1) reaching BRP SIERRA MADRE to successfully resupply our troops and personnel stationed there,” the task force noted.
The NTF-WPS condemned “in the strongest degree the latest dangerous, irresponsible, and illegal actions” of the CCG and Chinese Maritime Militia.
It asserted that the incidents were “in violation of Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction, and in utter blatant disregard of the United Nations Charter, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, relevant international maritime conventions, and the 2016 Arbitral Award.”
In a statement, the China Coast Guard (CCG) claimed that the Philippine vessels trespassed into the waters of Ayungin Shoal located in Kalayaan Islands.
“Since the Philippine side ignored China’s repeated warnings, the China Coast Guard responded lawfully and blocked the Philippine vessels which were illegally carrying construction materials,” CCG said.
According to the CCG, UM2 sailed at the bow of CCGV 5203 at 6:14 a.m. “on purpose in a way that was not professional nor safe in spite of China’s advanced notice and repeated warnings.”
CCGV 5203 was conducting law enforcement activities during the time of the incident, CCG said.
At 08:13 a.m, PCG’s MRRV 4409 began to turn backward which led to collision of the stern of its vessel into the starboard of China’s static floating Qiong Sansha Yu 00003, it added.
“The move was to make faults with China and escalate the current situation,” it said.
CCG added that the country’s action “seriously violated” the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea and “threatened” the navigation safety of the Chinese vessels.
“The operation of the Chinese side was professional, legitimate and lawful and the responsibility lay entirely with the Philippine side,” it added.