Philippine Coast Guard condemns Chinese vessel’s harassment of resupply effort in Spratlys
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reports that a China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel used water cannons and executed a series of hazardous manoeuvres in an attempt to disrupt a resupply voyage by small boats off the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea on Saturday, August 5.
Commodore Jay Tarriela, PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, said in a statement that the Chinese vessel’s “dangerous manoeuvres and illegal use of water cannons” were directed against Philippine Coast Guard vessels escorting small indigenous boats that were chartered to deliver food, water, fuel, and other supplies to Armed Forces of the Philippines personnel forward-deployed on Second Thomas Shoal.
Tarriela said such actions by the CCG “not only disregarded the safety of the PCG crew and the supply boats but also violated international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the 1972 Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), and the 2016 Arbitral Award.”
According to the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, the arbitral tribunal by the Netherlands-based Permanent Court of Arbitration adjudicating the Philippines’ case against China in the South China Sea ruled overwhelmingly in favour of the Philippines. The tribunal’s decision determined that major elements of China’s claim – including its so-called “nine-dash line”, recent land reclamation activities, and other activities in Philippine waters – were unlawful.
Tarriela added that the PCG has also called on the CCG to “restrain its forces, respect the sovereign rights of the Philippines in its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, refrain from hampering freedom of navigation, and take appropriate actions against the individuals involved in this unlawful incident.”