China Coast Guard deployment for 'Atin Ito convoy overkill -- PCG

‘Overkill’, PCG says of China Coast Guard deployment for ‘Atin Ito’ convoy

/ 11:47 PM May 17, 2024

Panatag not reached, but still ‘mission accomplished’

Fr. Robert Reyes leads a thanksgiving prayer with fishermen and volunteers of “Atin Ito” Coalition aboard one of the four fishing vessels sailing to Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea on Thursday morning. (INQUIRER / RICHARD A. REYES) 

MANILA, Philippines — Describing it as “overkill,” the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Friday said the deployment of China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels in Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal which was visited by a civilian convoy the other day was the biggest one so far.

Commodore Jay Tarriela, PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, said there were 10 CCG vessels monitored during the entire duration of Atin Ito’s convoy in Panatag Shoal.


“They were really paranoid,” Tarriela said in an online press conference. 


 “It’s an overkill on the part of the Chinese coast guard,” he added.

 Typically, the total number of CCG vessels only increased at around four or five whenever PCG and the Bureau and Fisheries and Aquatic Resources is conducting its resupply missions in the area.

“This is so far the highest in Bajo de Masinloc—10 Chinese coast guard strategically deployed to hamper Atin Ito convoy,” Tarriela pointed out.

The mother boat of a civilian convoy aiming to bring supplies to Filipino fishermen could not reach the territorial waters of the atoll after being blocked by CCG vessels.

Journalists, including, aboard the Fbca Bing Bing saw the presence of three CCG vessels even as it only reached about 50 nautical miles away from the low-tide elevation.

One of the CCG ships even came as close as 100 meters.


Fbca Bing Bing returned to Subic port on Friday, but the “advance team” which brought fuel and food packs to fishermen reached as far as 25-30 nautical miles away from the atoll.

Only four CCG vessels—two inside Panatag’s lagoon and two patrolling inside its 12 nautical mile territorial waters—are typically deployed.

China seized control of Scarborough Shoal’s lagoon in 2012 after its coast guard’s standoff with Philippine vessels. 

 This move is in line with Beijing’s assertion of 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. 

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This landmark decision also included Scarborough Shoal, which was declared a traditional fishing ground that should be shared by the Philippines, China, and Vietnam. However, China does not recognize this ruling.

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, Panatag Shoal, West Philippine Sea

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