China’s ‘monster ship’ staying near PCG vessel in West Philippine Sea

/ 02:38 PM July 08, 2024

China ‘Monster’ intimidating PCG into leaving shoal–spox

China Coast Guard 5901/ Monster ship passing BRP Teresa Magbanua in Sabina Shoal on July 3, 2024. PHOTO FORM PCG

MANILA, Philippines — China Coast Guard’s “monster ship” has remained near the Philippine Coast Guard’s vessel in Escoda (Sabina) Shoal for about five days now, according to a West Philippine Sea monitor.

Ray Powell, program head of Stanford University’s Gordian Knot Center for National Security Innovation, which monitors Chinese vessel activity in the South China Sea, told INQUIRER.net that the CCG vessel with bow number 5901 is only about 500 meters away from PCG’s BRP Teresa Magbanua.

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When asked if the giant CCG ship was heading closer to BRP Teresa Magbanua, Powell said, “[The distance] seems constant from what I can tell.”

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READ: West Philippine Sea: China ‘monster ship’ inches closer to PCG vessel

CCG’s gigantic patrol cutter, which is the largest coast guard vessel in the world, departed off Hainan Island waters on July 1 before arriving near Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal on July 3.

Also on July 3, the giant Chinese ship passed by Mischief Reef before heading towards nearby Escoda Shoal a few hours later, staying there until now.

BRP Teresa Magbanua was deployed in Escoda Shoal on April 16 to become the longest-deployed PCG asset in the West Philippine Sea.

READ: China’s ‘monster ship’ returns to West Philippine Sea amid talks

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Manila is holding the line in the West Philippine Sea as Beijing asserts sovereignty in almost the entire South China Sea, including most of the exclusive economic zone of the country’s western section, even if such a claim has been effectively invalidated by the arbitral award issued in July 2016.

The landmark ruling stemmed from a case filed by Manila in 2013, or a year after its tense standoff with Beijing over Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, whose lagoon the latter now has an effective control of.

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