Coast Guard reports peaceful aerial surveillance of Panatag waters

Coast Guard reports peaceful aerial surveillance of Panatag waters
This handout photo taken on March 2, 2022 and released by Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on March 27, shows a Philippine coast guard personnel (R) monitoring a Chinese coast guard ship shadowing their vessel while conducting a maritime patrol in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
Handout / Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard conducted aerial surveillance of Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal peacefully and without challenge from the Chinese Coast Goard, the PCG said Thursday.

Also called Bajo de Masinloc, the traditional fishing ground is located within the Philippine exclusive economic zone.

"During the said overflight, the PCG monitored four [CCG] vessels — two inside and two outside the [Bajo de Masinloc]. Two Chinese militia vessels were also observed outside the said vicinity waters,” the PCG said in a statement.

The PCG aims to intensify its presence in the area and "encourage more Filipino fishermen to conduct fishing activities in the area."

A 2016 arbitration ruling already invalidated China’s nine-dash-line claims on the West Philippine Sea. While it is within the 200-nautical mile Philippine EEZ, the Hague tribunal still ruled that the shoal is a traditional fishing ground open to fishermen from China and other countries. 

READ: Filipinos fishing on frontline of China's battle for disputed sea 

Both the BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301) and the BRP Suluan (MRRV-4406) were monitored during Thursday’s aerial surveillance near the shoal's mouth and to ensure the safety of Filipino fishermen as 30 to 40 Filipino fishing boats were also seen during the overflight. 

PCG personnel aboard the ships also give relief supplies and provide health checkins to the fishermen, the PCG said. — Kaycee Valmonte with reports from Patricia Lourdes Viray



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