At approximately 2130 EST, initial reports indicated that multiple Chinese Coast Gaurd and Maritime Militia vessels attempted to intercept Filipino re-supply ships en route to the Second Thomas Shoal inside the Philippines Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ).
After several deleted tweets from the government of the Phillipines, this statement was finally released which documented the incident.
AFP statement on Chartered Supply Boat Blocked and Water cannoned by CCG
The Armed Forces of the Philippines strongly condemns and expresses grave concern over the China Coast Guard’s (CCG’s) excessive and unlawful actions against Philippine vessels near Ayungin Shoal.
— Armed Forces of the Philippines (@TeamAFP) August 6, 2023
The Phillipines claimed that only one of two ships bound for the shoal was able to complete the mission for troop rotation and resupply. The Filipino Coast Guard made this statement:
“The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) strongly condemns the China Coast Guard’s (CCG’s) dangerous maneuvers and illegal use of water cannons against the PCG vessels escorting the indigenous boats chartered by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday, 05 August 2023.
These boats were delivering food, water, fuel and other supplies to our military troops stationed on BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.
Such actions by the CCG not only disregarded the safety of the PCG crew and the supply boats but also violated international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the 1972 Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), and the 2016 Arbitral Award.
The PCG calls on the China Coast Guard to restrain its forces, respect the sovereign rights of the Philippines in its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, refrain from hampering freedom of navigation, and take appropriate actions against the individuals involved in this unlawful incident.
We ask that China Coast Guard, as an organization with a responsibility to observe state obligations under UNCLOS, COLREGs, and other relevant instruments of international maritime safety and security, to cease all illegal activities within the maritime zones of the Philippines.“
As of August 2nd, 2023 there were approximately four Chinese Coast Guard ships near the disputed atoll and another 30 maritime militia vessels conducting blockading operations. A similar cannoning occurred in 2021 when two resupply ships were forced to turn back.
??Continued show of force in ??#Philippines’ EEZ:
As of 2 Aug there were 2 ??#China Coast Guard ships at Sabina Shoal (right) + 2 near Mischief Reef (left).
There were also 4 ?? maritime militia ships around 2nd Thomas (Ayungin) Shoal (center) + 26 more in Mischief Reef harbor. pic.twitter.com/GPAVMPXuyL
— Ray Powell (@GordianKnotRay) August 2, 2023
Second Thomas Shoal is claimed by the Philippines and China. The Philippines navy maintains a presence of less than a dozen navy personnel on the 100 m (330 ft) long Second World War US-built Philippine Navy landing craft BRP Sierre Madre(LT-57), which was deliberately run aground at the atoll in 1999 in response to the Chinese reclamation of Mischief Reef.The Philippines claims that the atoll is part of its continental shelf,while parts of the Spratly group of islands, where Second Thomas Shoal lies, are claimed by China, Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam. In 2014, the Chinese government asked the Philippines to remove the grounded ship. (wiki)