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4 hurt after Chinese coast guard fires water cannon at PH ship
4 hurt after Chinese coast guard fires water cannon at PH ship
Nation
4 hurt after Chinese coast guard fires water cannon at PH ship
by Christhel Cuazon05 March 2024
A Philippine supply boat sails near a Chinese Coast Guard ship during a resupply mission for Filipino troops stationed at a grounded warship in the South China Sea, October 4, 2023. REUTERS/Adrian Portugal/File Photo

Four crew were injured after China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels fired water cannons during a resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.

In a statement, the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) said the CCG's recent action "shattered the windshield of Unaizah May 4" which caused minor injuries to at least four personnel on board.

The injured personnel were immediately treated by the crew of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel BRP Sindangan.

"China's latest unprovoked acts of coercion and dangerous maneuvers against a legitimate and routine Philippine rotation and resupply mission to Ayungin Shol, have put the lives of our people at risk and caused actual injury to Filipinos on board UM4," the task force said.

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"The systematic and consistent manner in which the People's Republic of China carries out these illegal and irresponsible actions puts into question the sincerity of its calls for peaceful dialogue and lessening of tension," it added.

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Due to the damage and injuries to the vessel and crew, UN4 was forced to return to Palawan while being escorted by one of the PCG ships.

The other resupply ship, Unaizah May 1, meanwhile, successfully docked with BRP Sierra Madre and was able to carry out the resupply mission which concluded at 10:54 AM.

"The Philippines, for its part, continues to act peacefully and responsibly, consistent with international law, particularly UNCLOS and the legally binding 2016 Arbitral Award. Peace and stability cannot be achieved without due regard for the legitimate, well-established, and legally settled rights of others," the NTF-WPS said.

"The Philippines will not be deterred from exercising our legal rights over our maritime zones, including Ayungin Shoal which forms part of our Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf. We demand that China demonstrate that it is a responsible and trustworthy member of the international community," it added.

Clear and Present Challenge

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For Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman for the West Philippine Sea, the latest aggression and violent behavior of China is considered "a clear and present challenge" to the Philippine Navy.

"I would consider a clear and present challenge to the Philippine Navy in the West Philippine Sea. The situation is not normal, is not anymore normal, but we are up to the challenge," Trinidad said.

He said China exhibited "high-level aggression" in the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

"If we look at the historical context of it, from 1992 when they started erecting markers on our shoals, shallow waters, reefs, our features in the WPS," he stressed.

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