Manila increases number of assets patrolling West Philippine Sea amid continued presence of Chinese vessels

by Gabriel Dominguez

The Philippines has increased the number of maritime assets deployed to areas it claims in the disputed South China Sea (SCS) amid what Manila described as a “continuous swarming” in the West Philippine Sea of Chinese coastguard and “maritime militia” vessels.


        PLAN Jiangdao (Type 056/056A)-class corvette 
        Baise
         was spotted by the Philippine’s NTF-WPS near the disputed Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea on 11 April.
       (NTF-WPS)

PLAN Jiangdao (Type 056/056A)-class corvette Baise was spotted by the Philippine’s NTF-WPS near the disputed Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea on 11 April. (NTF-WPS)

The state-owned Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported on 13 April that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has also deployed Parola-class vessel BRP Cabra to the area, while the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has despatched two more ships to “conduct maritime and sovereignty patrols, and other law enforcement activities”.

The PNA also reported that the Philippine Navy (PN) has deployed four vessels: Bacolod City (Frank S Besson)-class logistics support vessel BRP Dagupan City (LS 551), Jacinto (Peacock)-class patrol vessel BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS 36), and PCE 827-class corvettes BRP Magat Salamat (PS 20) and BRP Miguel Malvar (PS 19). It noted that the PN ships will provide “support and assistance” to the PCG and BFAR vessels in the area.

In a statement issued that same day, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) in Manila quoted the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) as saying that in the latest round of “sovereignty patrols”, conducted on 11 April, an estimated 240 Chinese vessels were observed “lingering in the WPS”.

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The Philippines has increased the number of maritime assets deployed to areas it claims in the dispu...

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