Chinese ship passed via Batanes before ‘loitering’ off Catanduanes

PCG: Chinese ship passed via Batanes before ‘loitering’ off Catanduanes

/ 08:46 AM April 29, 2024

Chinese-flagged research vessel, "SHEN KUO," loitering in the vicinity northeast of Viga, Catanduanes as spotted by NOMAD N-22 aircraft.

A Chinese-flagged research vessel, “SHEN KUO,” is seen in the vicinity northeast of Viga, Catanduanes, in this photo taken from a NOMAD N-22 aircraft of the Philippine Air Force. (Photo courtesy of AFP)

MANILA, Philippines — A Chinese-flagged research vessel passed through Itbayat and Basco in Batanes before “loitering” in the vicinity waters off Catanduanes, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said on Monday.

Commodore Jay Tarriela, PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, said this was based on their monitoring through their automatic identification system.


“According to the information gathered, the vessel departed from Shenzhen Port on April 13th and passed through Itbayat and Basco Batanes on April 22nd,” Tarriela told reporters.


“It then proceeded southwards, coming within 11 nautical miles of the coast of Mapanas, Northern Samar, on April 25th,” he also said. “After that, it traveled north again until it reached the waters off Catanduanes, where it was monitored by the AFP (Armed Forces the Philippines).”

The AFP reported that the vessel “Shen Kuo” was spotted off Viga town in Catanduanes on Saturday.

“Several attempts to contact the vessel through regular radio channels were unsuccessful, indicating a lack of responsiveness or willingness to engage,” the AFP said in a statement on Sunday.

As of 6:00 p.m. Sunday, Tarriela said Shen Kuo is “slowly moving” approximately 78 nautical miles northeast off Mapanas town in Northern Samar.

This is the second time a Chinese research vessel was spotted in the country’s eastern section of the country, where Benham Rise, a 24-million-hectare underwater feature part of the Philippine continental shelf that is inside the country’s exclusive economic zone, was spotted.

Two Chinese research vessels were spotted there last month.


READ: China may be surveying Benham Rise to study Taiwan ‘entry’ — expert

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Renato de Castro, a defense analyst and Dela Salle University professor, said that the vessels’ presence there could have something to do with an underwater survey to prepare for the possible occupation of Taiwan.

Taiwan, a self-ruled island that China regards as a renegade province subject to reunification, broke away from the mainland in 1949 following the takeover of Mao Zedong’s communist forces.

TAGS: Batanes, PCG

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