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China Coast Guard harasses Philippine boats yet again

Philippines Coast Guard (USNI/Released)
April 10, 2024

China Coast Guard (CCG) ships again harassed boats led by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) at Rozul (Iroquois) Reef in the West Philippine Sea.

In a post on X on Saturday, Commodore Jay Tarriela, the PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, said the PCG and BFAR ships, accompanied by two fishing boats, were dropping “floating aggregate devices,” or “payao,” on April 4 in the area of Rozul Reef, which is well within Manila’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Located in the southernmost part of Recto (Reed) Bank, Rozul Reef is about 237 km northwest of Palawan province.

Pretending, threatening

Tarriela said two CCG vessels with bow numbers 21551 and 21556 were the “usual interdictors” when the Philippine ships were also on their way that Thursday to Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal for their latest resupply mission.

The two fishing boats that joined the PCG and BFAR were immediately harassed by the CCG.

“The Chinese Coast Guard vessels went as far as pretending to man their water cannons and threatening the Filipino fishermen, demonstrating China’s unlawful behavior aimed at depriving the Filipinos of their rights to access the resources in our exclusive economic zone,” Tarriela said.

Before joint drills, summit

Pagasa forecasts hot and humid weather in Luzon on Sunday (April 7)Pagasa forecasts hot and humid weather in Luzon on Sunday (April 7)

The latest incident happened three days before the Philippines’ joint exercise with its allies today in the West Philippine Sea and a week before its trilateral summit in Washington with Japan and the United States.

Last month, China attacked Philippine boats at Ayungin on at least two occasions—on March 5, when four members of the Philippine Navy were wounded after a water cannon attack on their boat UM 4 by a CCG vessel, and on March 23, when three Navy men on board the same military-chartered civilian boat were wounded by water cannon blasts from two CCG vessels.

There were at least four incidents last year of CCG ships attacking Philippine vessels with water cannons and one incident in February when a CCG vessel directed a military-grade laser at a PCG vessel supporting a resupply mission to Ayungin.


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