The Philippine Coast Guard has removed the hazardous floating barrier that the Chinese Coast Guard allegedly erected in the southeast portion of the Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal, the PCG announced late Monday evening.
“The decisive action of the PCG to remove the barrier aligns with international law and the Philippines’ sovereignty over the shoal,” PCG Commodore Jay Tarriela said on X.
The special operation carried out on Monday evening to remove the “hazardous floating barrier” in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) was initiated based on the instructions of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and National Security Adviser Eduardo Año, who also leads the National Task Force for the WPS, as confirmed by Coast Guard official Tarriela.
According to Tarriela, the presence of the barrier was considered a hazard to navigation and constituted a clear violation of international law.
“It also hinders the conduct of fishing and livelihood activities of Filipino fisherfolk in BDM (Bajo de Masinloc), which is an integral part of the Philippine national territory,” he said.
PH Coast Guard removes China floating barriers in Scarborough Shoal
“The 2016 Arbitral Award has affirmed that BDM is the traditional fishing ground of Filipino fishermen. Thus, any obstruction hindering the livelihoods of Filipino fisherfolk in the shoal violates the international law. It also infringes on the Philippines’ sovereignty over BDM,” he added.
In collaboration with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the PCG identified the floating barrier on Friday, September 22. This barrier, estimated to be approximately 300 meters in length, was a subject of concern due to its presence in the EEZ.
Located 229.6 kilometers (124 nautical miles) away from Zambales, Scarborough Shoal is part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and is considered one of the traditional fishing grounds for Filipinos.
“Three (3) CCG’s Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) and Chinese Maritime Militia’s service boat installed the floating barrier upon arrival of the BFAR vessel in the vicinity of the shoal. It was reported by the Filipino fishermen that the CCG vessels usually install floating barriers whenever they monitor a large number of Filipino fishermen in the area,” PCG earlier said.