Sunday, February 5, 2023

Coast Guard Patrol Ships Arrive At Scarborough Shoal

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Two ships of the Philippine Coast Guard are to conduct patrol operations at the Scarborough Shoal, also called the Panatag Shoal.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) confirmed that the two ships have arrived at the Scarborough Shoal, also called the Panatag Shoal, last November 5.

According to PCG commandant Rear Admiral William Melad, the deployment of the newly-acquired BRP Tubbataha and MCS 3010, a monitoring, control and surveillance vessel, is in compliance with the directive of Secretary Arthur Tugade of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for the Coast Guard to conduct patrol at the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines.

According to Rear Admiral Melad, the Tubbataha and MCS 3010 have filed their initial report, but he cannot disclose the content since he is not authorized, as he has yet to submit a report to the Task Force on the West Philippine Sea.

Philippine Coast Guard ships
The PCG ships have been identified to conduct patrol at the Panatag Shoal .

“But the sea condition was bad and they only sighted one Filipino fishing boat in the area”, the Coast Guard commandant said.

The PCG ship have been identified to conduct patrol at the Panatag Shoal or Scarborough Shoal, which is also called the Bajo de Masinloc.

Apart from the multi-role response vessel, Tubbataha, the PCG will tap BRP Davao del Norte and three of its monitoring, control and surveillance ships. Another ship, BRP Pampanga, has already been place on standby.

Rear Admiral Melad said they consider changing vessels every two or three days.

The Panatag Shoal is located at 124 nautical miles west of Zambales, which is well within the 200-natuical mile Philippine exclusive economic zone.

The Chinese Coast Guard began conducting patrols at the Panatag Shoal in 2013 and prevented Filipino fishermen from getting close to the shoal.

But recently, after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte visited China, Filipino were allowed to fish in the country’s EEZ, but still under the watch of Chinese vessels in the area.

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