The Philippines has accused China’s coastguard of installing a “floating barrier” in a disputed area of the South China Sea, which it said prevents Filipinos from fishing within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The coastguard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources “strongly condemn” China’s installation of the barrier in part of the Scarborough Shoal, “which prevents Filipino fishing boats from entering the shoal and depriving them of their fishing and livelihood activities”, a spokesperson Jay Tarriela posted on Sunday on X, formerly Twitter.
PCG and BFAR Condemn CCG’s Installation of Floating Barrier in the Southeast of BDM Shoal
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… pic.twitter.com/ed4cFtXcQs
— Jay Tarriela (@jaytaryela) September 24, 2023
Photos showed multiple buoys lined up and guarded by Chinese boats in the area, known in the Philippines as Bajo de Masinloc. The barrier is about 300 meters (985 feet) long and was discovered during a “routine maritime patrol” on Friday, said Tarriela.
When Philippine boats started fishing, four Chinese coastguard vessels initiated a series of 15 radio challenges “in an attempt to drive away” the vessels, he said.