China Fires Water Cannon, Damages Ship on South China Sea, Says Philippines

China Fires Water Cannon, Damages Ship on South China Sea, Says Philippines
A China Coast Guard ship is seen from a Philippine fishing boat at the disputed Scarborough Shoal on April 6, 2017. (Erik De Castro/Reuters)

Chinese Coast Guard vessels collided with and harassed Philippine vessels on Monday on Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, according to a statement by the Philippine Coast Guard.

The Philippino Coast Guard (PCG) vessels went to the Scarborough Shoal to distribute fuel and food to Filipino fishermen with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), according to the statement.

Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessels then approached, started performing dangerous maneuvers, and obstructed the Philippine vessels.

Four CCG vessels and six Chinese maritime militia vessels participated in the incident.

One of the Chinese ships used a water cannon to hit a fishing vessel from a distance of 12 nautical miles (14 miles). Another used a water cannon to hit a PCG vessel, damaging its canopy and railing.

“This damage serves as evidence of the forceful water pressure used by the China Coast Guard in their harassment of the Philippine vessels,” said West Philippine Sea Commodore Jay Tarriela in the statement.

He also said that the CCG installed a 380-meter (415-yard) floating barrier that covers the entire entrance of the Scarborough Shoal, effectively restricting access to it.

“Despite the harassment and provocative actions of the Chinese Coast Guard, both the PCG and BFAR vessels stood their ground and continued their maritime patrol. They were not deterred and will persist in carrying out their legitimate operations to support Filipino fishermen and ensure their safety,” he added.


NTD Photo
A floating barrier, installed by the Chinese coast guard, blocking the entrance to Scarborough Shoal in South China Sea, on April 30, 2024. (Philippine Coast Guard handout /via Reuters)

Filipino President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has directed the PCG and fishing vessels to maintain a “rational deployment” in the South China Sea, which the Philippines calls the West Philippine Sea. This is a disputed area.

Mr. Marcos has insisted on his country’s sovereignty in the area and has criticized the continuous presence of Chinese vessels in the disputed waters.

No country has sovereignty over the strategically located Scarborough Shoal, a prime fishing patch close to major shipping lanes that is used by several countries. The shoal falls inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“These latest demonstrations of China’s illegal and irresponsible behaviour highlight their egregious disregard for the Philippines’ lawful exercise of its rights and entitlements in our own EEZ,” Philippine authorities said in a statement.

China claims sovereignty over much of the South China Sea, a conduit for more than $3 trillion of annual ship-borne commerce, including parts claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.

An international tribunal in 2016 said China’s expansive claim had no legal basis, a decision Beijing rejected.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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