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Video: Chinese Use Water Cannons and LRAD to Stop Philippine Supply Mission

China Coast Guard water cannon
The China Coast Guard used water cannons on the civilian Philippine supply vessels (PCG videos)

Published Dec 9, 2023 6:19 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

The Philippines released videos of the latest encounter with the Chinese Coast Guard in the disputed area around the Scarborough Shoal showing the Chinese using water cannons on civilian boats from the Philippines’ Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. The Philippines supported by the international community released a statement saying it “vehemently condemns the illegal and aggressive actions,” contending that the Chinese Coast Guard also used Long-Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), small boats, and strung a new floating barrier, all in an attempt to stop what the Philippines calls an ongoing “humanitarian and support mission.”

The confrontation between the Chinese and Filipino boats took place near the shoal the Philippines calls Bajo de Masinloc, a fertile fishing grounds in the disputed area approximately 150 miles west of Luzon and more than 500 miles from Hainan in China. The Chinese have claimed the area around Scarborough Shoal since 2012 while the Philippines cites a 2016 international arbitration issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, which they say gives them the fishing rights and the authority to exercise sovereignty and jurisdiction of the area.

“We firmly insist that the Chinese vessels leave Bajo de Masinloc immediately,” the Philippines said in a written statement. The U.S. Ambassador also condemned the action and the Japanese expressed “serious concern” about what they labeled “dangerous actions.” Others including the ambassadors from the UK, EU, Australia, Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands all posted messages on X condemning the actions.

Chinese state television reported that the Philippine vessels had “intruded” into the area. The report said China’s Coast Guard used “controlled measures.”

 

 

 

The Philippines contends that the incident started with the Chinese early this morning, Saturday, December 9, using small boats to string a new floating barrier across the southeast entrance to the shoal. The Chinese have previously also placed barriers in the area, but in September the Philippines cut the barrier and permitted it to float away to enter the area.

Three vessels from BFAR, Datu Bankaw, Datu Sanday, and Datu Tamblot, approached the shoal area this morning carrying fuel and food supplies for 30 Filipino fishing vessels operating around the lagoon. According to the reports from the Philippines’ National Task Force, when the vessels were between 1.4 and 1.2 nautical miles from the entrance to the lagoon, the Chinese Coast Guard began using water cannons to stop the Filipinos’ progress. They content the Chinese used the water cannons at least eight times and released videos of the interaction.

According to the report, one of the Filipino vessels, Datu Tamblot, incurred “significant damage” to its communication and navigation equipment.

The Chinese reportedly also used LRAD against the Filipino vessels. The statement contends it “caused severe temporary discomfort and incapacitation” to some of the Filipino crew.

The Philippines is also denouncing the use of rigid hull inflatable boats they content were launched to disperse its fishing boats. They are reporting that the Chinese “engaged in dangerous maneuvers.”

 

PCG photo released online of the interaction as the Philippines conducted a supply mission to the fishing boats

 

The statement “demands that the Chinese government take immediate action to halt these aggressive activities.”  

The disputes between China and the Philippines have grown in intensity in recent months as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has pledged not to cede control of any territory to China and to stop China’s “activity that infringes upon the Philippines; sovereignty.” 

In addition to the confrontations near Scarborough Shoal, the two sides have had several incidents at Second Thomas Shoal, where the Philippines maintains an outpost. Last week, the Philippines also expressed concern over a large, and growing, swarm of Chinese fishing trawlers near Whitsun Reef, in the neighboring Spratly Islands.