Philippines Coast Guard Ship Sustains Damage from Chinese Water Cannons and Ramming

At approximately 2020 EST on April 29th, 2024, Chinese Coast Guard and Maritime Militia ships took up blocking positions as Philippine Coast Guard Ship BRP Bagacay and Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources vessel BRP Datu Bangkaw approached Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea.

By 2200 EST, Chinese state-owned media and Coast Guard spokespersons began to claim that their forces had expelled those two vessels from the vicinity of the shoal. The announcement reads below:

“On April 30, the Chinese Coast Guard drove away 4410 coast guard ships and 3004 official vessels that the Philippines had invaded the waters near Scarborough Shoal.”

The Attack

However, as the night progressed, Filipino media began to cover just how the Chinese had “expelled” those vessels. The videos below show a Chinese Coast Guard ship assailing the Filipino vessels with water cannons and ramming them.

It seems that the engagement broke off for about 30 minutes before both Filipino vessels were attacked again, this time by two Chinese Coast Guard vessels which once again rammed and used water cannons. The Bagacay has reportedly sustained damage to side panels and bridge railing.

In addition to the attack, the Filipino Coast Guard also claimed that the Chinese Coast Guard had installed a floating barrier to the mouth of Scarborough Shoal to block access by Filipino ships.

Chinese Statements

By 0500 EST this morning, the Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed the events and claimed that Filipino vessels had entered the Reef without permission from China and that they were trespassing on Chinese sovereign territory. Spokesman Lin Jian said:

“Huangyan Island is China’s inherent territory, and Philippine coast guard ships and official ships invaded the waters of Huangyan Island without China’s consent and seriously violated China’s sovereignty. The Chinese Coast Guard shall take necessary measures in accordance with the law to resolutely expel them.”

The Chinese Coast Guard doubled down on these claims with the below statement this morning:

“On April 30, the Chinese coast guard drove away the 4410 coast guard ship and 3004 official ship that invaded the adjacent waters of Huangyan Island in the Philippines in accordance with the law.

Scarborough Shoal, also known as Bajo de Masinloc or Huangyan Island and Panatag Shoal are two skerries (rocks) located between Macclesfield Bank to the west and Luzon to the east. Luzon is 220 kilometers (119 nmi) away and the nearest landmass. Chinese forces effectively seized the shoal in 2012 during a tense standoff in which Chinese warships effectively blockaded the island.

United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.


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