China's 'Monster' ship left Philippine EEZ — AFP

By JOVILAND RITA,GMA Integrated News

China Coast Guard 5901, the world's largest coast guard ship known as "The Monster," has already left the Philippine's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Wednesday.

"The AFP reports that the two China Coast Guard vessels sighted near Bajo de Masinloc are now outside the Philippine EEZ," AFP spokesperson Colonel Francel Margareth Padilla said in a press briefing.

Despite their departure, the AFP will continue monitoring the area, Padilla said.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday, former US Air Force official and ex-Defence Attaché Ray Powell said that the 165-meter CCG 5901 and the smaller 102-meter CCG 5203 held a brief intrusive patrol near Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Panatag Shoal and Scarborough Shoal.

Trinidad also confirmed the report, saying that China's "Monster" ship was located 50 nautical miles from Scarborough Shoal as of Friday morning.

"Yes. It is 50 nautical miles from Scarborough Shoal, Bajo de Masinloc," he told reporters in an ambush interview during the Philippine Navy anniversary celebration at its headquarters in Manila.

"The actions, the response will be at the NTF (National Task Force) WPS level. It is a China Coast Guard ship. There will be appropriate response from the NTF, most likely the Philippine Coast Guard," he added.


Bajo de Masinloc, also called Scarborough Shoal or Panatag Shoal, is a place of tension as China claims almost the entire South China Sea. Its territorial claims overlap with those of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

On April 30, the PCG said Chinese Coast vessels fired water cannons at Philippine civilian vessels en route to the shoal. The water attacks had caused damage to Philippine vessels.

Following a civilian mission to the shoal earlier this May, China announced a fishing ban in the South China Sea from May 1 to Sept. 16.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has already protested the ban, saying it violates international law and undermined the country's sovereignty and maritime rights.

Manila calls part of the waters within its exclusive economic zone as the West Philippine Sea, parts of which overlap with Beijing's so-called 10-dash line.

In 2016, an international arbitration tribunal in The Hague ruled that China's claims over South China Sea has no legal basis, a decision Beijing does not recognize. — VDV, GMA Integrated News