China Turns Water Cannons on Philippines’ Ship Again

China once again tried to make a statement in the South China Sea. Two of its Coast Guard vessels turned water cannons on a resupply ship delivering supplies to a small Philippines’ outpost on Second Thomas Shoal. In this case, the attack did so much damage to the smaller wooden boat that it had to be towed back home.


Video of the incident showed a Philippine civilian vessel taking “heavy damage” from the water cannon, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The AFP also accused the Chinese coast guard of performing a “dangerous maneuver” by crossing the bow of the resupply vessel before using the water cannon…

A Philippine Coast Guard vessel had been “impeded and encircled” by a Chinese coast guard ship and two Chinese “maritime militia” vessels, the agency said, cutting it off from the resupply boat…

Beijing and Manila have long contested the Second Thomas Shoal, which sits about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the coast of the Philippine island of Palawan. In the 1990s the Philippines grounded an aging World War II-era navy transport ship called the BRP Sierra Madre on the shoal, to help enforce its claim to the area. The ship is now mostly a rusted wreckage and is manned by Philippine marines stationed on rotation.

 Here’s video of the incident:

And here is video of the floating barrier installed by China.


The Philippines lodged a complaint over the incident with Beijing.

Philippine Foreign Undersecretary Theresa Lazaro in a phone call with her Chinese counterpart expressed “the Philippines’ strongest protest against the aggressive actions undertaken by the China coast guard and Chinese maritime militia against the rotation and resupply mission undertaken by the Philippines,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement…

The Philippines separately summoned a senior Chinese diplomat in Manila to convey its protest and demand that Chinese ships immediately leave the waters around Second Thomas Shoal, which lies in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, and for China to stop violating international law.

China, as usual, demanded the Philippines give in to its threats to seize territory that doesn’t belong to them.

China warned the Philippines on Monday to behave cautiously and seek dialogue, saying their relations were at a “crossroads” as new confrontations between their coastguards over maritime claims deepened tensions…

Chen said in a statement: “China once again urges the Philippines to honour its commitments and consensus, stop its maritime abuses and provocations, stop any unilateral actions that may complicate the situation, and earnestly return to the right track of properly handling differences through dialogue and consultation with China.”

The US Ambassador to the Philippines released a statement condemning China’s behavior.


The statement reads in part:

The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) latest acts of unprovoked aggression, coercion and dangerous maneuvers against a legitimate and routine Philippine [rotation and resupply] mission to Ayungin Shoal, have once again placed at risk, caused severe damage to property, and caused physical harm to Filipinos onboard UM4. The systematic and consistent manner in which the PRC continues to carry out these illegal in irresponsible actions belies its hollow claims to peace, dialogue and adherence to international law.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. Back in December there was a very similar incident near another disputed island called Scarborough Shoal.

China also turned water cannons on the same supply boat to Second Thomas Shoal last August:

Ultimately, the Philippines’ rotation and resupply effort this weekend was successful. The Philippines continues to resupply the rusting old ship, the Sierra Madre, which as been manned at Second Thomas Shoal as an outpost to prevent China claiming the area and militarizing it. Here’s a map showing just how far Second Thomas Shoal is away from China. 




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