The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has reported another close distance maneuvering involving a China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel during the maritime patrol operations of one of its ships, BRP Malabrigo, in Bajo de Masinloc on March 2, 2022.
In a news release on Sunday, the PCG said its personnel have monitored a CCG vessel with bow number 3305 that conducted a close distance maneuvering of approximately 21 yards towards BRP Malabrigo while the PCG vessel was sailing at the vicinity waters off Bajo de Masinloc.
This constrained the maneuvering space of BRP Malabrigo, a clear violation of the 1972 International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS).
PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio M. Abu said the incident was the fourth reported close distance maneuvering incident involving CCG vessels in Bajo de Masinloc.
On May 19, 2021, PCG-manned BFAR vessel, MCS-3005, reported the first incident of close distance maneuvering involving a CCG vessel with bow number 3301.
The second and third incidents involved two CCG vessels (3301 and 3103) that conducted close distance maneuvering with BRP Capones (MRRV-4404) and BRP Sindangan (MRRV-4407) during the PCG’s maritime capability enhancement exercises in Bajo de Masinloc on June 1 and 2 last year.
“The behavior of the involved CCG vessels increased the risk of collision with four of our capital ships,” Abu said.
He said the PCG immediately coordinated with the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) “to address this issue through rules-based and peaceful approaches.”
Meanwhile, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade has directed the PCG to continue upholding its mission of promoting the safety of life and property at sea and enforcing all applicable laws within the Philippine waters in support of national development.
“We are fully aware of dangerous situations at sea, but these will not stop our deployment of assets and personnel in Bajo de Masinloc, Philippine Rise, and other parts of the country’s exclusive economic zones (EEZ),” Abu said.
“We will continue to work silently and diligently for we are serving Filipino fishermen at sea. As long as they feel safe seeing us during their fishing operations, we know that we are doing our job well,” he added.