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China Coast Guard put floating barrier in Scarborough Shoal —PCG


China Coast Guard put floating barrier in Scarborough Shoal —PCG

The China Coast Guard (CCG) installed a floating barrier in the southeast portion of Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal, preventing Filipino fishermen from entering the area to conduct their fishing activities, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Sunday.

The PCG said the floating barrier, which has an estimated length of 300 meters, was discovered by personnel of PCG and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Friday, September 22, while onboard Datu Bankaw to conduct a maritime patrol mission in Bajo de Masinloc.

 


 

“Three (3) CCG’s Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) and Chinese Maritime Militia’s service boat installed the floating barrier upon arrival of the BFAR vessel in the vicinity of the shoal. 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,” PCG said in a statement.

More than 50 Filipino fishing boats engaged in fishing activities were found by BFAR at the vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc during the routine maritime patrol.

The PCG said BFAR provided these fisherfolks with various grocery items and fuel subsidies to sustain their operations.

Four CCG vessels (CCG-3065, CCG-3066, CCG-3105, and CCG-3301), however, allegedly initiated a series of 15 radio challenges in an attempt to drive away the BFAR vessel and Filipino fishers.

“The CCG crew alleged that the presence of the BFAR vessel and Filipino fishermen violated international law and the domestic laws of the People's Republic of China,” PCG added.

The BFAR vessel responded to all radio calls and explained they were carrying out a routine patrol within the territorial sea of Bajo de Masinloc.

The CCG vessel then “maintained a safe distance and moved away” upon noticing the presence of media personnel aboard the BFAR vessel.

Both PCG and BFAR condemned the installation of the floating barrier in the area.

 

An estimated 300-meter long floating barrier was discovered at Scarborough Shoal (Bajo de Masinloc or Panatag Shoal) in the West Philippine Sea on Friday, September 22, 2023, by personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. PCG

 

 

In Mav Gonzales's Sunday 24 Oras Weekend report, the PCG said that not only was the floating barrier illegal, it was a danger to Filipino fishermen.

"It is a navigational hazard," explained Coast Guard Spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Commodore Jay Tarriela. "Buoys are used as an aid to navigation to support the mariners, to identify a dangerous area. Ito they are using floating barrier para pagbawalan mga Pilipinong mangingisda pumasok."

(Here, they are using a floating barrier to prevent Filipino fishermen from entering.)

The Coast Guard said this was the only instance they monitored Chinese use of a floating barrier.

The PCG documented this latest incident and reported the matter to the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea.

As to any diplomatic or legal actions on the matter, the Coast Guard was leaving these to the Foreign Affairs and Justice Departments.

The PCG also took an underwater survey of the area, even as it insisted that the Philippines never lost control of the Bajo de Masinloc.

PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu has committed to support BFAR and other national government agencies in their efforts to ensure the safety and security of Filipino fishermen.

GMA News Online has contacted the Chinese Embassy for comment but has yet to receive a statement as of posting time. —KG, GMA Integrated News

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