Chinese missile vessels chase Filipino civilian ship in West Philippine Sea

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino civilian ship carrying ABS-CBN News crew was chased down by Chinese military vessels while it was traveling in the West Philippine Sea on Thursday, April 8.

According to a report by ABS-CBN, a Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessel was initially seen in the south side of Ayungin Shoal. Although the Filipino ship was four miles from the entrance of Ayungin Shoal and was within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone, the Chinese Coast Guard sent the crew a radio message asking them to identify themselves.

Chinese missile vessels chase Filipino civilian ship in West Philippine Sea
PHOTO CREDIT: ABS-CBN News/Chiara Zambrano

With the intention of signalling the Chinese ship that it will no longer take the earlier route towards Ayungin Shoal, the captain of the Filipino vessel then decided to navigate the ship away from it in a complete 180-degree turn.

Despite the actions taken by the Filipino captain, the Chinese Coast Guard vessel increased its speed and began hounding the civilian ship and followed its path to mainland Palawan for one hour. Because of the proximity of the Chinese vessel, the crew members were able to identify the bow number of the vessel which was 5101.

Watch the video.

After one hour, the Chinese Coast Guard vessel then changed its direction. This time, two Houbei Type 22 missile fast attack craft began chasing the Filipino ship. Based on the GPS coordinates, the Filipino vessel was located 90 nautical miles from mainland Palawan taking a straight path home when missile vessels hounded it.

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has launched a probe on the incident upon the order of the Department of National Defense (DND).

DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement: “We are concerned for the safety of anyone — unarmed civilians — at sea. As such, we view the report with concern. The Defense Department has directed the AFP through its Western Command to investigate, gather, and validate all the relevant facts on the incident.”

— Mini, The Summit Express

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