Lorenzana denies presence of Chinese research ship near Zambales coast

Published August 14, 2021, 12:11 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

There is no truth to the claims that a Chinese research vessel has been operating within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the Department of National Defense (DND) has announced.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (Photo courtesy of Department of National Defense)

DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Friday, Aug. 13, that research ship “Hai Da Hao” was not monitored by the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Northern Luzon Command (AFP – NOLCOM) entering its Area of Responsibility, particularly near Panatag Shoal (Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal) in Zambales coast, for around one year now.

“Contrary to some published reports regarding the Chinese research vessel Hai Da Hao, the AFP Northern Luzon Command has reported that the said vessel has not been spotted near Bajo de Masinloc as alleged,” Lorenzana said.

“Based on the verification of the one-year historical track of CRV Hai Da Hao, the vessel did not pass through nor did it enter the area of responsibility of Naval Forces Northern Luzon,” he added.

Further, Hai Da Hao was monitored by the NOLCOM at 30 nautical miles south of Huidong Xian, Huizhou Shi, China when the military checked its current location, the Defense chief bared.

Hai Da Hao is operated by the China Ocean University, a learning institution based in Qingdao, China.

Ryan Martinson, an assistant professor at the United States Naval War College, said in a Twitter post that Hai Da Hao was spotted 65 nautical miles east of Panatag Shoal last Wednesday.

On Thursday, he said that the ship has departed the Philippines’ EEZ.

However, he claimed two other Chinese ships were still operating within the country’s territorial waters.

He said “Jia Geng” was found west of the coast of Busuanga, Palawan while “Dong Fang Hong 3” was operating west of Pangasinan coast.

Asked for a comment on the reported presence of more Chinese research vessels in the country’s territorial waters, Lorenzana said: “We will check.”