PH Supply Vessels Endure Another Harassment from China Coast Guards

Aboard the BRP Sindangan were journalists who witnessed the hostility of China Coast Guards against the Philippine supply boats.
Aboard the BRP Sindangan were journalists who witnessed the hostility of China Coast Guards against the Philippine supply boats. (Rhk111/WikimediaCommons)

China Coast Guards continue to intensify their harassment towards the Philippine supply vessels. Despite the deadly manoeuvres of the Chinese navy ships, Filipino troops kept their calm and found ways to get to Ayungin Shoal where their comrades waited in BRP Sierra Madre no matter what.

Defying Blockade and Harassment of the China Coast Guards

The crew of Philippine supply vessels didn’t mind if they were outnumbered. They will bring fresh supplies to their fellow soldiers in the BRP Sierra Madre stationed in the Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) in the West Philippine Sea.

On board the Philippine Coast Guard boats were invited journalists to see for themselves how the Chinese navy vessels would react upon seeing Filipino troops bring supplies to their battle-brothers in the rundown ship. As expected, the Chinese defiantly enforced their will in waters that are under the Philippines’ jurisdiction in accordance with international law. However, they couldn’t startle the smaller country supported by a lawful and historical basis for its endeavours.

China Coast Guards blocked the Philippines’ two escort vessels to prevent them from reaching the shoal. The supply boats, on the other hand, reached the sandbank to deliver provisions. However, before the successful resupply mission, the Filipinos had to endure harassment and danger.

The Philippine Navy used Unaizah May (UM 1 and UM 2), including BRP Sindangan and BRP Cabra. On Thursday morning, all vessels sailed in pairs from separate ports in Palawan. When China Coast Guards saw the approaching Philippine vessels, they started to radio them.

The Chinese introduced themselves as China Coast Guard 21616 and demanded the Philippine vessels to inform them of their intention to prevent miscalculation and misunderstanding.

“This is Philippine Coast Guard vessel BRP Sindangan MRRV 4407 conducting lawful routine maritime operations within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. In accordance with international and Philippine laws, we are proceeding according to our planned route. Request to stay clear from our passage in accordance with the collision regulation, over,” said a female voice from one of the Philippine Coast Guard patrol ships.

When Karma Strikes

Many times China Coast Guards blocked the Philippines’ supply vessels and even fired them with water cannons. However, this time it seems that karma had been bestowed upon them for their cruelty and untoward behaviour.

A Chinese rigid-hull inflatable boat became entangled with a fishing boat’s mooring line while following a Philippine resupply boat that was on its way to the BRP Sierra Madre. The said Chinese boat was among the fleet of four Chinese Coast Guard and four military ships that attempted to prevent Philippine boats from delivering supplies.

“It’s about the karma that they experienced when they tried to shadow our resupply vessel,” said AFP spokesman Col. Medel Aguilar.

Aguilar added that they offered assistance but were refused. Ironically, they were blamed instead for the Chinese boat’s misfortune.

Chinese Coast Guard will surely continue to badger the Philippine Coast Guards and their supply boats. They are still waiting for the withdrawal of the BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal.