Uptick of Chinese vessels seen in Scarborough Shoal - AFP

Uptick of Chinese vessels seen in Scarborough Shoal – AFP

/ 02:29 PM April 10, 2024

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HOUNDED AT SEA China Coast Guard personnel aboard their rigid hull inflatable boat (left), in this photo taken on Feb. 16, trails a small Philippine boat carrying Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources personnel from the BRP Datu Tamblot trying to enter Scarborough Shoal, as a larger Chinese vessel is seen in the West Philippine Sea. —AFP

MANILA, Philippines — There is an uptick of China Coast Guard (CCG) and Chinese maritime militia vessels (CMMV) monitored in Scarborough Shoal, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Wednesday.

AFP spokesperson Col. Francel Margareth Padilla said that as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday, there were four CGC ships and 20 CMMV monitored within the vicinity of the shoal.


READ: More Chinese vessels spotted in Scarborough Shoal — AFP


Usually, there are only two CCG vessels deployed at a time inside the lagoon of the triangle-shaped chain of reefs and rocks which forms the maritime feature.

Padilla, however, refused to speculate as to the reason behind the increase.

“These [vessels] come and go, at one time, we have sightings of four [CCG vessels]. For any reason, we cannot speculate,” Padilla told reporters in a phone interview.

China seized control of Scarborough’s lagoon in 2012 following CCG’s standoff with Philippine vessels.

Beijing believes it owns almost the entire South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea, even if such a claim has been effectively invalidated by a July 2016 international tribunal ruling that stemmed from a case filed by Manila in 2013.


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The landmark decision also covered Scarborough Shoal, which was declared a traditional fishing ground that should be shared by the Philippines, China, and Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Padilla said one CCG ship and four CMMV were seen in the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal, where the BRP Sierra Madre is currently grounded.

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One CCGV, 14 CMMVs, and one People’s Liberation Army Navy warship were spotted near Pagasa Island, while three CMMVs were monitored in Panatag Island, according to her.

No sightings of Chinese vessels were seen in other maritime features in the West Philippine Sea, said Padilla.

TAGS: China Coast Guard, Chinese maritime militia

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