Chinese ship collides with PH boat on supply mission to Ayungin Shoal

By Priam Nepomuceno

October 22, 2023, 12:39 pm Updated on October 22, 2023, 2:14 pm

<p>Screenshot of video taken by resupply boat Unaiza May 2<em> (From video posted by AFP Facebook)</em></p>

Screenshot of video taken by resupply boat Unaiza May 2 (From video posted by AFP Facebook)

MANILA – A China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel collided with a Philippine supply boat, which was on a regular rotation and resupply (RORE) mission to the detachment manning the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal, on Sunday morning.

A statement from the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) said “dangerous blocking maneuvers” by the CCG caused the collision.

"At around 0604H (6:04 a.m.) this morning, while conducting a regular and routine Rotation and Resupply (RORE) mission to BRP Sierra Madre (LS-57), dangerous blocking maneuvers of China Coast Guard vessel 5203 (CCGV-5203) caused it to collide with the Armed Forces of the Philippines-contracted indigenous resupply boat Unaiza May 2 (UM2) approximately 13.5 nautical miles east northeast of LS-57," read the NTF-WPS statement released shortly before noon.

The NTF-WPS did not specify what damage Unaiza May 2 sustained in the collision or whether it completed its mission.

"During the same RORE mission, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel MRRV-4409’s port side was bumped by Chinese Maritime Militia (CMM) vessel 00003 (CMMV-00003) while it was lying to approximately 6.4NM (nautical miles) northeast of Ayungin Shoal," the NTF-WPS added.

It added that the RORE mission was ongoing as of posting time, with Unaiza May 1 (UM1) already with BRP Sierra Madre troops.

"The NTF-WPS condemns in the strongest degree the latest dangerous, irresponsible, and illegal actions of the CCG and the CMM done this morning, in violation of Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction and in utter blatant disregard of the United Nations Charter, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) and relevant international maritime conventions, and the 2016 Arbitral Award," the NTF-WPS said.

It added that "relevant authorities" have been briefed about the incident.

The United States and Canada denounced China's latest disruption of a Philippine resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal.

US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson said it "put the lives of Filipino service members at risk."

"We stand with our friends, partners, allies in protecting PH sovereignty and in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” she said in a statement.

Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines David Hartman said they stand "in full unity with the Philippines in defense of its territorial integrity and the upholding of international law" and condemn "the unlawful and dangerous conduct of the CCG.

He also commended the professionalism and restraint exercised by the PCG.

"The PRC’s (People's Republic of China) actions are unjustified. China has no lawful claim to the West Philippine Sea. Its actions are incompatible with the obligations of a signatory to the UNCLOS. Continuing acts of intimidation and coercion undermine safety, stability, and security across the region, and increase the risk of miscalculation," Hartman said in another statement.

European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Veron said “these incidents, their repetition and intensification are dangerous and very disturbing.”

“We join the Philippines in its call for the full observance of International Law in the South China Sea,” he stated.

On Oct. 13, a People's Liberation Army Navy ship closely tailed and conducted dangerous maneuvers while BRP Benguet was enroute to another RORE for the military detachment in Rizal Reef. (With a report from Joyce Ann L. Rocamora/PNA)