Philippines condemns China’s INSTAL of ‘floating barrier’ in S China Sea

Source: The Hill | September 24, 2023 | Sarah Fortinsky

Philippines condemns China’s installation of ‘floating barrier’ in South China Sea

Philippine authorities on Sunday condemned the China Coast Guard for allegedly installing a “floating barrier” in a disputed territory in the South China Sea.

In a statement, Coast Guard spokesperson Jay Tarriela said a floating barrier with an estimated length of 300 meters was discovered on Friday during a “routing maritime patrol.”

Tarriela said the floating barrier is preventing Filipino Fishing Boats (FFBs) from entering the area and conducting their fishing and livelihood activities. 

“The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) strongly condemn the China Coast Guard’s (CCG’s) installation of floating barrier in the Southeast portion of Bajo de Masinloc (BDM), which prevents Filipino Fishing Boats (FFBs) from entering the shoal and depriving them of their fishing and livelihood activities,” Tarriela said in a statement on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. He included photos of the incident.

Tarriela said the floating barrier was seen being installed by three China Coast Guard boats and a Chinese Maritime Militia’s service boat, upon the arrival of the Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources vessel. There were more than 50 FFBs spotted in the area on Friday, Tarriela said. 

Four CCG vessels tried to drive the BFAR vessel and FFBs away by initiating a series of radio challenges. The crews on the CCG vessels allegedly claimed they were violating international law and domestic law, but Philippine authorities insisted “emphasized that they were carrying out a routine patrol within the territorial sea of BDM.”

Tarriela said CCG crews backed off when they noticed a media presence on board the BFAR vessel.

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