China installs floating barriers in Scarborough Shoal

SunStar File
SunStar File

THE Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) has installed floating barriers in the southeast portion of Bajo de Masinloc (BDM) of Scarborough Shoal, preventing the entry of Filipino fishing boats, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Sunday, September 24, 2023.

In a statement, the PCG and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) “strongly condemned” the placement of the floating barriers, approximately 300 meters, in the areas that were discovered during the conduct of routine maritime patrol on September 22.

The PCG said three CCG’s rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) and Chinese Maritime Militia’s service boat installed the floating barrier upon the arrival of the BFAR vessel in the vicinity of the shoal.

It said four CCG vessels initiated a series of 15 radio challenges in an attempt to drive away the BFAR vessel and FFBs, noting that it is a violation of international law and the domestic laws of the People's Republic of China.

“It was reported by the Filipino fishermen that the CCG vessels usually install floating barriers whenever they monitor a large number of Filipino fishermen in the area,” it said.

“The BFAR vessel responded to each and every radio call and emphasized that they were carrying out a routine patrol within the territorial sea of BDM,” it added.

The BFAR stated that 50 Filipino fishing boats were operating in the area during the routine maritime patrol.

The PCG said the installation of the floating barriers deprives Filipino fishermen of their fishing and livelihood activities.

It said the CCG vessels maintained a safe distance and later moved away upon realizing the presence of media personnel onboard the BFAR vessel.

The Scarborough Shoal is part of the West Philippine Sea, which is being claimed by China.

China continues to reject the 2016 arbitral ruling, which invalidated their nine-dash line theory which covers almost 90 percent of the WPS.

The arbitral ruling affirms the country’s rights over the WPS as well as the rights of the Filipinos to conduct fishing activities there. (SunStar Philippines)

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