Stranded Chinese frigate on its way back to China—DFA
MANILA, Philippines—A Chinese naval frigate that was stuck in a shoal close to Philippine shores while patrolling disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) was on its way back to China after it was successfully extricated by Chinese authorities, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Sunday.
“We are glad to note that Chinese authorities have successfully extricated their stranded frigate from Hasa Hasa shoal and is now on its way out of our exclusive economic zone and Continental Shelf and back to China,” DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said in a text message to reporters.
Earlier, the Chinese embassy in Manila reported that the grounded frigate was successfully refloated around 5 a.m. Sunday and that all its personnel were safe.
“Now the preparation for return to the port is underway. No contamination has been caused in the incident area,” it said in a statement posted on its website.
The stranding occurred Wednesday in Hasa Hasa shoal (which the Chinese calls Half Moon Shoal), which is located 60 nautical miles from the western Philippine island of Palawan, well within the country’s exclusive economic zone.
The shoal is part of the Spratlys Islands, which the Chinese call Nansha, a string of atolls and islands in the West Philippine Sea believed to be rich in mineral deposits.
The Philippines and China, along with Taiwan and the other Southeast Asian countries of Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, have claims to the islands.