287 Chinese militias, 2 missile warships, coast guard vessels monitored in recent WPS patrols

The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) said in its May 12 press statement that 287 Chinese Maritime Militia (CMM) vessels, Chinese Coast Guard vessels, Chinese PLA Navy warships including 2 missile warships were monitored during maritime patrols conducted recently in West Philippine Sea.

“Based on the (May 9) maritime patrol, two (2) CMMs and two Houbei Class Missile warships were inside Panganiban (Mischief) Reef; one (1) CMM was at Lawak (Nanshan) Island; eleven (11) CMMs were located approximately 29NM southwest of Recto (Reed) Bank; and one (1) CMM vessel at Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal,” the NTF-WPS said.

It also noted that one Chinese Coast Guard vessel was seen at Ayungin Shoal during a patrol on May 7.

“As for the features forming part of the Pagkakaisa (Union) Banks, the 9 May 2021 maritime patrol reported the presence of thirty-four (34) CMMs at Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef (JFR), two (2) Vietnamese (VN) logistics/supply ships and one (1) VN Coast Guard vessel at Sin Cowe East (Grierson Reef) and seventy-seven (77) CMMs in Chigua Reef,” NTF-WPS said.

It added that “the ATF-West 9 May 2021 maritime patrol reported fourteen (14) CMM vessels and one (1) CCG vessel positioned off the main Pag-asa Island, and sixteen (16) CMMs at Zamora (Subi) Reef. An earlier 6 May 2021 patrol sighted twenty-four (24) CMMs, complemented by one (1) CCG anchored at the Pag-asa Cays showing no visible activity.”

“Further, the same patrol observed two (2) CMMs at Panata Island; one (1) VN Fishing vessel at Kota (Loaita) Island; sixty-four (64) CMMs in Burgos (Gaven) Reef North; two (2) VN Fisheries Surveillance Ships at Paredes (Discovery Great) Reef; and one (1) CN Rescue Service Ship, three (2) PLAN warships and fifty-five (55) CMM vessels at Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef,” the NTF-WPS said.

The national task force also said that “for the period of 3-10 May 2021, the Area Task Force – North reported an average of four (4) CCG vessels at Bajo de Masinloc (BDM) (Scarborough Shoal), and an average of one (1) CCG each for both the Pag-asa Islands and Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal.”

It also noted that “despite China’s illegal unilateral “fishing ban” covering its fishing vessels in waters north of 12 degrees latitude in the South China Sea, from 1 May to August 16, 2021, two CMMs were nonetheless observed harvesting shells inside the lagoon of the BDM. Notably, a daily average of ten (10) Filipino fishing boats (FFBs) were seen fishing inside the BDM lagoon for the period 7 to 9 May 2021.”