China’s ‘The Monster’ vessel spotted in Ayungin Shoal

China’s ‘The Monster’ vessel spotted in Ayungin Shoal
File photo

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) confirmed Tuesday, June 25, 2024, reports of a “large China Coast Guard (CCG)” vessel passing near the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“The presence of this 12,000-ton CCG ship near BRP Sierra Madre is part of a broader pattern of intrusive patrols aimed at asserting unlawful claims over areas within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone (EEZ),” the AFP said in a statement.

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“We emphasize that such actions by the CCG are illegal, coercive, and contrary to the spirit of maintaining peace and stability in the region,” it added.

The AFP maintained that it remained vigilant and steadfast in its mission to uphold international maritime laws, specifically the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).

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It urged China anew to respect international law and to refrain from actions that escalate tension in the disputed territory.

Maritime expert and former US Air Force official Ray Powell said the CCG’s 5901, often called as “The Monster,” passed Ayungin Shoal around 9 a.m. Monday, June 24, and was headed north.

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This came following the recent harassment by CCG to the Philippine Navy during a routine rotation and resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre that resulted in a Navy personnel losing his thumb.

The CCG personnel also damaged the communication devices of the navy ships and punctured Philippine Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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