Chinese warships should not turn off identification system when passing PHL waters: defense chief

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Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on July 30 said that Chinese PLA Navy vessels should keep their automatic identification system (AIS) while passing through Philippine waters.

Secretary Lorenzana said that there were four instances when Chinese warships passed through Sibutu Strait with their AIS turned off.

“These ships apparently when they passed by Sibutu Strait, they turned off their automatic identification system, causing our radar not to detect them,” Lorenzana said as quoted by PNA.

“In any part of the world if you shut off your AIS, meaning you do not want yourself to be known by other people,” the DND chief said.

He also noted that because Sibutu Strait is just narrow, ships passing through during the day can be seen using naked eye.

He said that “if they are passing on broad daylight at pinatay nila, ayaw nilang malaman kung sino sila. But nakikita naman natin sila. So what’s the use of putting off your AIS?”

“And based on our talks with [Chinese] Ambassador Zhao [Jianhua] and he volunteered this information to me, in the future he will request that anytime these ships pass by our territorial waters, they [will] inform us and ang sabi ko sa kanila, at saka wag nila dapat patayin yung AIS nila,” Secretary Lorenzana said.