2 PCG vessels deployed off Scarborough amid China’s trespass law

/ 05:30 PM June 17, 2024

Scarborough shoal

This photo shows an aerial view of China Coast Guard vessel inside Scarborough Shoal in the disputed South China Sea on February 16, 2024. FILE PHOTO/Agence France-Presse

MANILA, Philippines — In response to China’s anti-trespassing law encroaching on the West Philippine Sea, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Monday said it has ordered two of its vessels to patrol the waters around Scarborough Shoal to protect fisherfolk in the area.

PCG vessels BRP Malapascua and BRP Sindangan have been deployed 30.8 nautical miles (NM) off Panatag Shoal—also known as Bajo de Masinloc—since Sunday, June 16, according to its spokesperson, Rear Admiral Armand Balilo.


Balilo said BRP Sindangan saw the shadowing of three China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels during its patrol.


READ: AFP: PH won’t be deterred, intimidated by China’s ‘anti-trespassing’ policy

Read more: New China rules allow detention of foreigners in South China Sea

He also said the crews of two vessels checked on fishermen’s condition as they communicated with fishing bancas FBCA Princess Yhan Yhan and Rundel-1 about 32 NM off Panatag Shoal.

The spokesperson further said that the fisherfolk there were assured that “the PCG will uphold their safety and provide security during fishing activities” while providing food and medicine.

Since June 15, China authorized its coast guard to detain foreigners deemed “illegally crossing” its borders without trial for up to 60 days, according to a South China Morning Post (SCMP) report on May 16.

The SCMP noted that the announcement of China’s anti-trespassing policy “coincides with the arrival at Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal of a group of civilians and fishermen from the Philippines” last month.


Atin Ito conducted a mission for Panatag Shoal, but they could not reach the atoll after being blocked by China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels.

READ: Chinese ships block convoy’s mother boat from reaching Scarborough

At one point, three CCG vessels surrounded the convoy’s motorboat, where INQUIRER.net was also aboard. The convoy only reached as near as 50 nautical miles before heading back to mainland Luzon.

China seized control of Panatag Shoal’s lagoon in 2012 after CCG’s standoff with Philippine vessels.

Beijing asserts sovereignty in almost the entire South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea, even if such a claim has been effectively invalidated by a July 2016 international tribunal ruling from a case filed by Manila in 2013.

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This landmark decision also included Panatag Shoal, which was declared a traditional fishing ground that should be shared by the Philippines, China, and Vietnam.

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: China, West Philippine Sea

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