The Philippines has completed another resupply in the Ayungin Shoal despite harassment from Chinese vessels, the National Task Force-West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) said Wednesday.
The NTF-WPS said Filipino ships Unaizah May 1 and Unaizah May 2, escorted by BRP Cabra and BRP Sindangan, successfully delivered provisions to troops stationed in BRP Sierra Madre.
“The Philippines’ resupply missions and maintenance of BRP Sierra Madre are part of regular operations in line with domestic and international law and ensure the safety and wellbeing of our stationed personnel,” the NTF-WPS said.
“These missions are a legitimate exercise of the administrative functions of the Philippine Government over the WPS [West Philippine Sea], in line with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the 2016 Arbitral Award, and domestic laws,” it said.
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said a Chinese vessel again maneuvered dangerously against the Philippine vessels on their way to the shoal for this month’s resupply mission.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter), former US Air Force official and former Defense Attache Ray Powell said that a total of 12 Chinese militia ships were deployed supposedly to enforce the “blockade” of the resupply mission in the Ayungin Shoal or Second Thomas Shoal.
A Philippine ship, BRP Sierra Madre, has been grounded at the Ayungin Shoal since 1999. A dozen marines and sailors are aboard the ship, which has become a symbol of Philippine sovereignty in the offshore territory.
In early September, Chinese vessels also performed dangerous maneuvers against Philippine ships bound for Ayungin Shoal for a resupply mission.
It was the fourth resupply mission after the August 5 incident when the China Coast Guard used water cannons against the PCG fleet conducting a similar mission.
Resupply missions were also conducted and completed on August 22 and September 8. –NB, GMA Integrated News