PHL verifying reported harassment of Filipino-crewed ship near Panatag

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is verifying reports that a Chinese “naval warship” harassed a Filipino-crewed ship near Scarborough Shoal or Panatag on September 30.

“We will verify the facts of the incident, then relevant offices will make the appropriate recommendations,” DFA Assistant Secretary Eduardo Menez told reporters in a text message on Saturday.

The statement was made following an exclusive from Rappler, reporting that the Liberian-flagged oil tanker Green Aura, whose captain was a Philippine Navy reservist, was ordered to stay away from the shoal as it sailed towards its planned route to Longkou, China.

According to the report, the Chinese vessel moved in the direction of Green Aura’s path to block its passage.

The Liberian-flagged ship’s captain, identified as Manolo Ebora, a Filipino, was quoted as saying that the Chinese ship violated navigation rules for intending to cut Green Aura’s course and tailing it afterward.

Scarborough or Panatag Shoal is 124 nautical miles from the coast of Zambales province and is within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). PNA.GOV.PH