December 11, 2023
MANILA – The China Coast Guard (CCG) rammed and water cannoned Philippine vessels during a regular rotation and resupply (RoRe) mission to BRP Sierra Madre on Sunday, Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Commodore Jay Tarriela said.
Tarriela said the involved Philippine vessels are BRP Cabra, Unaizah Mae 1, and M/L Kalayaan, which even sustained “serious engine damage.”
“Regular RORE to BRP SIERRA MADRE this morning. BRP CABRA, Unaizah Mae 1, and M/L Kalayaan water cannoned by China Coast Guard. M/L Kalayaan suffered serious engine damage. Contrary to China Coast Guard disinformation, [Unaizah Mae 1] rammed by CCG vessel,” Tarriela said on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter).
The incident was the second ramming between Philippine and Chinese ships since October in the vicinity of the Ayungin Shoal, also known as Second Thomas Shoal, an uninhabited shoal within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone where Filipino soldiers are living aboard an aging warship that was deliberately grounded in 1999 to protect Manila’s claims in the disputed waterway.
There was no immediate comment from Chinese officials.
On Saturday, the Philippines also condemned China’s illegal and aggressive actions” after its coast guard fired water cannon at a civilian government vessel of the Philippines’ fisheries bureau.
The collision comes as a Christmas convoy of around 40 Philippine vessels began sailing Sunday to the disputed shoal.
Over 200 fishermen, youth leaders and civil society groups have joined the mission organized by the Atin Ito (This is ours) campaign network, a civilian-led advocacy to assert the Philippines’ rights in the South China Sea.