Friday, July 27, 2012

Philippine Navy to drive off 20 Chinese vessels from Spratlys

Naval Forces West chief Commodore Rustom Peña said Thursday that Navy ships are on standby, ready to sail to the Spratly Islands to inform the Chinese fishing vessels in the area that they are within Philippine territory and that they should leave.
In a phone interview, Peña said the 20 Chinese fishing vessels were monitored to be around five nautical miles from Pagasa island or about 240 nautical miles from Puerto Princesa City which is the seat of government of Kalayaan town, Palawan.
“We will just investigate and then if situation warrants, we will advise them (20 Chinese fishing boats) that that’s our territory and they should leave," said Peña. 
The official said the Navy ships cannot presently sail to the location of the Chinese fishing boats because of rough seas. He said the Navy ships will sail out the West Philippine Sea as soon as the weather condition improves.
“We are monitoring them. They are not actually fishing, they are just seeking shelter…There were instances in the past where Vietnamese [vessels] also took shelter in the area because there are portions there that can [provide] cover for waves,” said Peña.
Peña added that two Chinese ships were also monitored at Mischief Reef, a Chinese-occupied area which is about 130 nautical miles from Puerto Princesa City.
Pagasa island is largest among the nine areas that are occupied by Filipino forces in the Spratly Islands. A number of civilians live in the Pagasa Island.
Believed to be rich in oil and minerals deposits, the Spratlys is being claimed in part or in whole by the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei.

GMA News Online | July 26, 2012 | Article Link

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