The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) drove away seven foreign fishing vessels believed to be manned by Chinese and Vietnamese fishermen off Marie Louise Bank in El Nido, Palawan on Wednesday, June 30.
In a video shared by the PCG on Sunday, July 4, the Coast Guard personnel from the BRP Cabra (MRRV-4409) radio communicated with the seven foreign vessels, composed of five Chinese ships and two Vietnamese ships, while conducting maritime patrol in separate incidents off Marie Louise Bank, which is within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The Marie Louise Bank is located approximately 147 nautical miles from El Nido, Palawan.
“This is PCG BRP Cabra (MRRV-4409). You are within Philippine exclusive economic zone. You are requested to provide the following: name of vessel, intention, last and next port of call on Channel 16,” the PCG personnel said during the radio communication with the Chinese and Vietnamese vessels.
The PCG said the foreign vessels were monitored via automatic identification system (AIS). They were later identified as five Chinese ships and two Vietnamese ships.
The Coast Guard said the BRP Cabra utilized a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) to conduct radio challenge to the foreign ships, in accordance with the armed service’s manual on rules on the use of force within the country’s EEZ.
In the video, the foreign ships later dispersed in the area after the PCG conducted radio communications.
Meanwhile, personnel of BRP Cabra also checked the health condition of 34 Filipino fishermen on board F/B Xiroxira from San Jose, Occidental Mindoro in the vicinity waters off Marie Louise Bank.
“The Filipino fishermen said they were able to conduct normal fishing operations in the past two weeks without any untoward incidents at sea,” the PCG said.
The Coast Guard has activated its “Task Force Pagsasanay,” to intensify the capacity building of its personnel and assets as it vowed to protect the country’s maritime territory amid the heightened tension in the West Philippine Sea.
Last April 27, the PCG ships drove away seven Chinese vessels from the Sabina Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. The Sabina Shoal is located approximately 73 miles from Mapankal Point, Rizal, Palawan.
The country protested on March 20, over the presence of 220 Chinese vessels believed to be manned by Chinese maritime militia at the Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef in the West Philippine Sea.
The Philippines under the Duterte administration has already filed about 100 diplomatic protests against China over various infractions on the West Philippine Sea, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on May 30.