Updated February 25th, 2024 at 13:46 IST

Philippines accuses China of attempts to seize another vessel in South China Sea

Chinese coastguards, joined by at least three other Chinese ships harassed the BRP Datu Sanday on the disputed reef of Scarborough Shoal.

Reported by: Digital Desk
The Philippines coastguards. | Image:AP
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Philippines has accused People’s Republic of China (PRC) of intimidation and belligerence by trying to block and seize the Filipino government vessel in the contentious South China Sea that sailed in an effort to provide assistance to Filipino fishermen.

The Chinese coastguards, joined by at least three other Chinese ships harassed the BRP Datu Sanday on the disputed reef of Scarborough Shoal, according to a statement published by Philippine Coast Guard. The latter said that the at least three to four Chinese vessels came within 100 metres (328 feet) of Datu Sanday’s bow, shadowing, jamming the vessel transponder, and undertaking other “dangerous manoeuvres.” 

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Chinese coastguards ‘repelled Datu Sanday’

This wasn’t the first incident, as the PLAAN attempted to harass another BRP Datu Tamblot vessel in the maritime area, the Philippines last guard said. “Despite these manoeuvres, the skipper of BRP Datu Sanday exhibited excellent seamanship skills and managed to evade the blocking attempts,” Commodore Jay Tarriela, the Filipino coastguard spokesman for the South China Sea was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post paper. Beijing’s mouthpiece the Global Times meanwhile said that the Chinese coastguards managed to repell the Datu Sanday “when the vessel illegally intruded into waters adjacent to China’s Huangyan Island.”

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The Scarborough Shoal, also known as the Bajo de Masinloc (in Spanish) and Panatag Shoal (Serene Shoal in Tagalog) is a disputed triangular chain of reefs and rocks. It is a topic of a flashpoint between China and Philippines over each country’s sovereignty claims. Manila accuses  Beijing of harassing Philippine vessels in the waters as the fishermen try to access the fish-rich lagoons. It is located approximately 240km (150 miles) west of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon and an estimated 900km from the nearest major Chinese land mass of Hainan. A diplomatic tussle ensued between the two nations after Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) received the order by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to remove a floating barrier installed by the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG).

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Published February 25th, 2024 at 13:46 IST