Surge of Chinese warships noted in Ayungin Shoal–Philippine Navy

/ 02:00 PM June 11, 2024

Surge of Chinese warships noted in Ayungin Shoal--Philippine Navy

This handout satellite image released by Maxar Technologies on March 24, 2024 and dated March 23, 2024 shows Chinese and Philippine ships in waters where the Philippines said the China Coast Guard blocked their supply vessel and damaged it with water cannon, during a Philippine supply mission near Second Thomas Shoal in disputed waters of the South China Sea. FILE PHOTO/Agence France-Presse

MANILA, Philippines — There is a surge of Chinese warships in Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, according to Philippine Navy data shared on Tuesday.

There were eight People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) warships monitored from June 4 to 10. This was a threefold increase in the previous monitoring period, when there were only two PLAN vessels.


Aside from these warships, there are also five China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels and 29 Chinese maritime militia vessels.


READ: China vessels, warships withdraw from Scarborough after convoy

In total, there are 42 Chinese ships in Ayungin Shoal within the said monitoring period.

Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad, Navy spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, attributed the increase to the recently-concluded People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLA-N) drills in Escoda (Sabina) Shoal.

“The increase in ships follows the conduct of the three-day exercise of the PLA-N last Jun 2 to 4 in Sabina Shoal,” Trinidad told in a text message.

Sabina Shoal serves as the rendezvous point for Filipino vessels carrying out resupply missions to naval troops stationed on BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.


The regular resupply mission in the naval outpost has become one of the flashpoints of tension in the West Philippine Sea, as Chinese vessels resorted to usage of water cannons during previous missions which even injured Philippine navy personnel at one point.

READ: China has ‘zero common sense’ over actions during Ayungin airdrop—PH Navy

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Last May 19, CCG personnel aboard rigid hull inflatable boats seized and dumped overboard food and other supplies which were airdropped by a military aircraft for the naval outpost.

Such actions are in line with Beijing’s assertion of sovereignty in almost the entire South China Sea, including most of the West Philippine Sea, even if such a claim has been effectively invalidated by a July 2016 international tribunal ruling that stemmed from a case filed by Manila in 2013.

For comprehensive coverage, in-depth analysis, and the latest updates on the West Philippine Sea issue, visit our special site here. Stay informed with articles, videos, and expert opinions.

TAGS: Ayungin Shoal, West Philippine Sea

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