Satellite Images Show Floating Barriers Placed At Scarborough Shoal

On February 22nd, Maxar Technologies released satellite images that show a new floating barrier at the Scarborough Shoal, a highly contested area between China and the Philippines.

The barrier blocked the mouth of the shoal, coming a week after a Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) ship allegedly chased off a Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources vessel after reportedly “intruding” into Bejing’s waters. The Philippines said this claim wasn’t accurate, and movements were “according to the law.”

China has a claim to the Scarborough Shoal, despite being inside the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines, and a 2016 court ruling that rejected China’s claims.

Satellite imagery showed two CCG inflatable boats setting up floating blockades on the entrance of the Shoal last Thursday, in addition to Chinese ships reportedly conducting “blocking maneuvers” around 1.49 miles (2.4km).

The Chinese name for the feature is Huangyan Dao, and China says it is “China’s inherited territory.” Since being elected, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has challenged China’s claims to the shoal and other areas of the South China Sea.