Illegal Chinese dredging vessel spotted in Bataan

Illegal Chinese dredging vessel spotted in Bataan
The Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Customs spotted an illegal and unauthorized Chinese dredging ship in the vicinity of Orion Point, Bataan on Wednesday.
PCG / Released

MANILA, Philippines — An illegal and unauthorized Chinese dredger type vessel was spotted at the vicinity of Orion Point in Bataan, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Thursday.

The coast guard's BRP Panglao (FPB-2402) located the Chinese ship at around 11 a.m. on Wednesday while conducting its maritime security patrol.

"Upon boarding, the joint operatives discovered the automatic identification system (AIS) transponder of said vessel was turned off and its two Cambodian crewmembers aboard failed to present proper documents," the PCG said in a statement.

INCIDENT REPORT: While conduct maritime security patrol aboard BRP Panglao (FPB-2402), personnel of the Philippine Coast...

Posted by Philippine Coast Guard on Wednesday, 27 January 2021

The Bureau of Customs office in Aparri, Cagayan granted departure clearance to the Chinese vessel more than a year ago, making its presence at the vicinity illegal and authorized.

The customs bureau has yet to issue a warrant of seizure and detention against the ship.

The incident comes a week after China adopted a new law allowing its coast guard to fire on foreign vessels within areas Beijing considers its "territorial waters."

Beijing claims an area known as the nine-dash line in the South China Sea, which overlaps with the Philippines' exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.

The PCG, on the other hand, does not have a similar rule to that of its Chinese counterpart when it comes to foreign vessels.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has protested Beijing's new rule, which also allows the Chinese coast guard to demolish other countries' structures on Chinese-claimed reefs.

"While enacting law is a sovereign prerogative, this one—given the area involved or for that matter the open South China Sea—is a verbal threat of war to any country that defies the law; which, if unchallenged, is submission to it.," Locsin tweeted Wednesday afternoon. —  Patricia Lourdes Viray

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