Rozul Reef, Escoda Shoal suffer ‘severe damage’ – PCG

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has officially confirmed “severe damage” to the marine environment and coral reef in the seabed of and Escoda Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

This confirmation follows maritime patrols conducted by BRP Sindangan and BRP CABRA after the presence of 33 and 15 maritime militia (CMM) vessels was reported in Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal, respectively, between August 9 and September 11. The damage to these sensitive marine ecosystems is a matter of concern in the region.


“The surveys conducted in Escoda Shoal revealed visible discoloration of its seabed, strongly indicating that deliberate may have been undertaken to modify the natural topography of its underwater terrain,” PCG spokesperson for WPS Commodore Jay Tarriela said.

According to reports, there is a possibility that the corals in the affected areas, Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal, were harvested, processed, and then returned to the seabed.

“The presence of crushed corals strongly suggests a potential act of dumping, possibly involving the same dead corals that were previously processed and cleaned before being returned to the seabed,” he said.


According to reports by Tarriela, the marine ecosystem in both Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) has exhibited signs of severe damage, appearing lifeless with minimal to no signs of life.

Rozul Reef, Escoda Shoal suffer ‘severe damage' – PCG

He suggests that the persistent presence of Chinese maritime militia (CMM) vessels engaged in alleged illegal and destructive fishing activities in the area “may have directly caused the degradation and destruction of the marine environment in the WPS features.”

“The PCG emphasizes the importance of protecting and preserving our marine environment, which plays a crucial role in sustaining marine life and supporting local communities,” he added.


The Armed Forces of the Philippines' Western Command (Wescom) reported cases of extensive coral harvesting along Rozul Reef, which falls within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

In response to this development, Tarriela stated that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine Navy will collaborate to maintain a presence in the area. This joint effort aims to monitor and protect Philippine territorial waters and marine resources in the West Philippine Sea.

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