Ship sail

Philippines slams Chinese ship’s ‘short-range maneuvers’ in South China Sea

The March 2 incident occurred during Philippine maritime patrol operations around Scarborough Shoal, known locally as Bajo de Masinloc, the PCG said in a news release.

It was not yet clear if the Philippines had filed a diplomatic protest for the incident. The PCG said it should wait for the go-ahead signal from the country’s National Western Philippine Sea Task Force before making the incident public.

The incident involved a Chinese coastguard vessel with bow number 3305 conducting short-range maneuvers over an area of ​​about 21 yards (19.2 meters) towards the Philippine BRP vessel Malabrigo, a indicated the PCG.

“This limited BRP Malabrigo’s maneuvering space – a clear breach of the International Regulations for the Avoidance of Collisions at Sea 1972 (COLREGS),” the PCG said.

The PCG had asked the country’s foreign ministry to help solve the problem through “peaceful and rules-based approaches”, according to PCG commander Admiral Artemio Abu.

The Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

China claims most of the waters of a so-called Nine Dash Line in the South China Sea, which is also disputed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Abu said it was the fourth reported incident of close-range maneuvers involving Chinese and Philippine Coast Guard vessels in Scarborough Shoal since May last year.

Despite the risks, Abu said the deployment of Filipino resources and personnel to the waters of the country’s exclusive economic zones would continue.