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PCG increases presence in Tubbataha Reef following incursion

(The Philippine Star) - June 11, 2013 - 10:13am

MANILA, Phgilippines - The Philippine Coast Guard has increased its presence in Tubbataha Reef following the intrusion of Vietnamese fishermen in the marine sanctuary last Friday.

Coast Guard Palawan district head Commodore Enrico Evangelista said that aside from the beefing up of coast guard patrol in the marine sanctuary, park rangers were also placed on a heightened alert status.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines' Western Command earlier announced that its naval component has already dispatched a patrol vessel to look into the alleged Vietnamese incursion.

1st Lt. Cheryl Tindog, Western Command spokesperson, said a Vietnamese vessel between 50 and 60 tons, was spotted 3.4 nautical miles of North Atoll, Tubbataha Reef between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. last June 7.

Tindol said that the Vietnamese fishing vessel was flying a Philippine flag when spotted by the Tubbataha Park Ranger Station radar.

She said that the Vietnamese vessel sped off upon seeing the approaching park rangers.

"Our park rangers gave chase... up to two nautical miles," Tindog stressed, adding that some of the pursuing rangers are Navy personnel.

She said that the vessel used by the park rangers is a park boat of the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park.

In January, US minesweeper USS Guardian ran aground the reef. Several days after it was removed on March 30, a Chinese fishing vessel also ran aground at the marine sanctuary.

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES CHERYL TINDOG COAST GUARD PALAWAN COMMODORE ENRICO EVANGELISTA IN JANUARY NORTH ATOLL PARK PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD TUBBATAHA PARK RANGER STATION TUBBATAHA REEF WESTERN COMMAND
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