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China warship stranded on Philippines' Hasahasa Shoal

July 13, 2012 6:59pm
China on Friday said rescue operations for its warship that ran aground on a shoal in disputed waters of the South China Sea are in progress.

The Chinese embassy in Manila said their Navy frigate accidentally ran aground on the Half Moon Shoal of Nansha Island on Wednesday while on a patrol mission. The shoal is known as Hasahasa in the Philippines.
 
“According to the information we got from the Information Department of the Ministry of National Defense of China, around 7pm of July 11, a frigate of Chinese Navy ran aground accidentally at Half Moon Shoal of Nansha Isands during a routine patrol mission, with no personnel injured,” it said.

“Currently the rescue work by the Chinese Navy is underway,” a statement by the Chinese Embassy in Manila said.

Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald in a report on Friday described the warship as “a People's Liberation Army Navy vessel, believed to be No. 560, a Jianghu-class frigate.”
 
The Australian newspaper said the Chinese ship ran aground in waters within 200 kilometers off the Philippine coast, which is the country's Exclusive Economic Zone.
 
The report went on to say that the ship has been involved in driving Filipino fishing boats aggressively from the area in the past.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Navy said, "Our naval assets are on the way to the area."

"We will provide assistance if needed,” said Commodore Rustom Peña, commander of the western naval forces.
 
Although China said the incident was an accidental grounding, it could become another thorny diplomatic and security issue since it happened in Philippine territorial waters.
 
It also came at a time after the two Asian neighbors figured in recent squabbles over some areas, including the Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal, a rich fishing ground off the country's northwestern shores and near the West Philippines Sea, also referred to as South China Sea.
 
China claims the West Philippine Sea nearly in its entirety even as it overlaps with the Philippines’ and other countries’ territories.  — GCG/VS/ELR, GMA News
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