�� China water cannons 2 PH vessels in Scarborough Shoal anew

China water cannons 2 PH vessels in Scarborough Shoal anew

/ 12:08 PM April 30, 2024

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This frame grab from aerial video footage taken and released on March 23, 2024, by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, shows a vessel described by the Philippine armed forces as a China Coast Guard ship (bottom R) deploying water cannon against the Philippine military-chartered civilian boat Unaizah May 4 during its supply mission near the Second Thomas Shoal in disputed waters of the South China Sea. The Philippines accused the China Coast Guard of blocking and firing water cannon at a Filipino supply vessel on March 23 off a remote and contested South China Sea reef. AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — China Coast Guard (CCG) once again used water cannons against two Philippine vessels conducting a mission in the Scarborough Shoal Tuesday morning.

Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) BRP Bagacay and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ (BFAR) vessel BRP Datu Bankaw were hit by the CCG’s water cannons, according to Commodore Jay Tarriela, PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea.

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READ: 4 PH Navy crew hurt by China Coast Guard’s water cannon attack

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BRP Bagacay sustained damage on its railing and canopy, while the starboard astern of the BRP Datu Bankaw was likewise destroyed, said Tarriela.

“This damage serves as evidence of the forceful water pressure used by the China Coast Guard in their harassment of the Philippine vessels,” Tarriela said in a statement.

BRP Bagacay and BRP Datu Bankaw embarked on a mission to the shoal on Monday.

Despite the incident, Tarriela said the vessels “stood their ground” and continued their patrol.

READ: China ship hits PH vessels on humanitarian drive with water cannon in West PH Sea

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“They were not deterred and will persist in carrying out their legitimate operations to support Filipino fishermen and ensure their safety,” Tarriela told reporters.

Meanwhile, Tarriela also said CCG installed a 380-meter floating barrier again covering the entire entrance of the shoal, effectively restricting access to the area.

China seized control of Scarborough Shoal’s lagoon in 2012 after a CCG standoff with Philippine vessels. Since then, at least two CCG ships have been permanently deployed inside the lagoon.

Beijing asserts sovereignty in 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.

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

Despite this, Filipino fisherfolk and government civilian vessels regularly experience harassment from the CCG.

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Last December, CCG also used water cannons “at least eight times” against BFAR’s vessels Datu Sanday, Datu Bankaw, and Datu Tamblot. It caused significant damage to Datu Tamblot.

Next month, the Atin Ito coalition plans to send 100 civilian boats in Scarborough Shoal in a bid to assert the country’s sovereign rights there.

For comprehensive coverage, in-depth analysis, and the latest updates on the West Philippine Sea issue, visit our special site here. Stay informed with articles, videos, and expert opinions.

TAGS: China, Philippines, Scarborough Shoal, West Philippine Sea

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