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Philippine vessels sustain damages in latest encounter with China Coast Guard

China Coast Guard vessels dousing Philippine supply boat Unaizah May 4 with water cannons in the latter's mission to resupply BRP Sierra Madre with provisions on 5 March 2024. (Philippine Coast Guard)

A Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Parola-class patrol boat and a Philippine government-operated supply boat have been damaged after a 5 March encounter with China Coast Guard vessels in disputed waters of the South China Sea.

In a statement issued later that day, the Philippine government's National Task Force-West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) described the damages as a result of China's latest attempt to impede its routine resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre, a stranded Philippine Navy landing ship on Second Thomas Shoal that is now being used as an outpost by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Second Thomas Shoal is claimed by both the Philippines, which calls it Ayungin Shoal, and China, which refers to it as Rén'ài Jiāo.

The PCG vessel that was damaged in the encounter is the service's sixth Parola-class patrol vessel, BRP Sindangan. It sustained “superficial structural damage to the hull”, reads a statement issued by the NTF-WPS on 5 March.

Also damaged in the encounter was the Philippine supply boat Unaizah May 4, which sustained a broken windshield after it was simultaneously doused with water cannons from two China Coast Guard vessels. These vessels bear the pennant numbers 5201 and 21555 respectively.

Due to the damage to the vessel and injuries to the crew, Unaizah May 4 proceeded back to Palawan island under escort of Sindangan. However, another Philippine supply vessel, Unaizah May 1, successfully docked with Sierra Madre and completed its resupply mission, the NTF-WPS disclosed.

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