Philippine Navy landing platform dock BRP Tarlac (LD-601) was escorted by at least five Chinese and Japanese coast guard ships on September 24 in the vicinity waters of Senkaku island en route to Vladivostok, Russia for a scheduled goodwill port visit.
The Philippine Navy said they have identified two Chinese and three Japanese Coast Guard ships.
“The coast guard vessels positioned both at the left and right side of BRP Tarlac following a parallel course. Earlier, one Chinese Navy vessel in the vicinity contacted the PN ship informing that the ship is transiting on their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and wishing for a safe voyage,” the Philippine Navy said.
“A similar call was also made by the Japanese coast guard within the vicinity. The Japanese and Chinese vessels made alternate calls through voice radio on separate occasions,” it added.
“There are also air assets that conducted aerial survey and called thru our radio stating that if we need any assistance, we can call them thru Channel 16, and I said thank you for your assistance…We are on our passage to Russia,” said Captain Estelito Lagadia Jr., Commanding Officer of BRP Tarlac.
The Philippine Navy noted that the Japanese and Chinese vessels altered courses and separated in the north east vicinity of Senkaku Island.
“Senkaku Island lies between the countries of Japan and China. The incident manifested the relevance of maintaining communications at sea and the Philippines’ good relations with the two countries,” the Philippine Navy said.
It added that its regular conduct of international defense and security engagement promotes diplomacy and validates relationship and cooperative engagement established with other navies and maritime forces in the region.