A Chinese navy warship was forced to leave the Marie Louise Bank in El Nido, Palawan after personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) radio challenge on July 13.
This was bared by PCG spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo on Monday, July 19, based on the report received in the PCG command center last July 13.
The PCG’s BRP Cabra (MRRV-4409) sighted a “navy warship” with a flag of the People’s Republic of China and marked with Chinese characters near Marie Louise Bank.
The Marie Louise Bank is located approximately 147 nautical miles from El Nido, Palawan.
Personnel of the BRP Cabra conducted a radio challenge while approaching and monitoring the distance of the warship using a radar system.
Unable to hear a verbal response, BRP Cabra Commander Erwin Tolentino used Long Range Acoustic Device (LRDA) to sent verbal challenge to the Chinese warship.
It was then, the Chinese warship started to leave the area. However, the BRP Cabra followed the vessel to ensure that it left the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The PCG said when the Chinese warship’s distance was approximately 500 to 600 yards or 0.25 to 0.30 nautical miles away from the BRP Cabra, it transmitted a radio message.
“Philippine Coast Guard 4409, this is Chinese Navy Warship 189. Please keep two nautical miles distance from me,” the PCG said, citing the radio message from the Chinese warship.
“Nagpatuloy ang mahigpit na pagbabantay ng BRP Cabra sa Chinese Navy Warship gamit ang ‘Rules on the Use of Force (RUF)’. Ito ay hanggang sa tuluyang nakalabas ng Marie Louise Bank ang nasabing foreign state vessel na tumakbo sa bilis na 9.4 knots (The BRP Cabra continued a strict surveillance of the Chinese Navy Warship using ‘Rules on the Use of Force (RUF)’. It continued to monitor the foreign state vessel which ran at a speed of 9.4 knots until it left off Marie Louise Bank),” the PCG said.
The PCG has stepped up its maritime patrol in the West Philippine Sea amid the aggressive presence of Chinese vessels in the disputed areas, which the Philippine’s EEZ.
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.
The PCG ships have also 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.
Last April 27, seven Chinese vessels dispersed from the Sabina Shoal in the West Philippine Sea after the PCG personnel radio challenge them.
The Philippines 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.