On February 6, 2023, a China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel with bow number 5205 directed a military-grade laser light at the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel BRP MALAPASCUA (MRRV-4403) while supporting a rotation and resupply (RoRe) mission of the Philippine Navy (PN) in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
As BRP MALAPASCUA reached a 10nm distance from Ayungin Shoal, the CCG vessel was monitored approximately 4nm of the ship’s dead ahead maneuvering from the portside heading starboard side. The Chinese ship illuminated the green laser light twice toward the BRP MALAPASCUA, causing temporary blindness to her crew at the bridge. The Chinese vessel also made dangerous maneuvers by approaching about 150 yards from the vessel’s starboard quarter.
As part of her deployment plan, BRP MALAPASCUA altered her course from Ayungin Shoal and headed toward Lawak Island to continue her maritime patrol and support the BRP TERESA MAGBANUA (MRRV-9701) for the PCG’s own RORE mission to its sub-stations in the Kalayaan Island Group.
The deliberate blocking of the Philippine government ships to deliver food and supplies to our military personnel on board the BRP SIERRA MADRE is a blatant disregard for, and a clear violation of, Philippine sovereign rights in this part of the West Philippine Sea.
Back in August, the CCG also prevented PCG ships from coming closer to the Ayungin Shoal while providing security to a PN resupply mission.
The CCG 5205 removed the cover of her 70 mm naval armament when BRP TERESA MAGBANUA came close to Ayungin Shoal at a distance of 2.5NM. The said CCG ship, together with the two Chinese Maritime Militia (CMM) and CCG 5102, formed a 13NM-radius blockade with the grounded PN vessel as its reference to prevent Philippine government ships from reaching the AFP troops.
In this particular mission, it was evident that the CMM vessels took orders from the CCG to prevent the Philippine ships from entering the shoal. The CMM even deployed their utility boats to support the blockade and shadowing by the CCG.
Regardless of this challenging situation, the PCG remains steadfast in protecting the sovereignty and rights of the country and Filipinos in the West Philippine Sea. According to the PCG Commandant, CG ADMIRAL ARTEMIO M ABU, “The PCG will continue to exercise due diligence in protecting the country’s territorial integrity against foreign aggression. The AFP can always rely on the PCG to support their resupply mission in Ayungin Shoal. Despite the dangerous maneuver of the much larger CCG ships and their aggressive actions at sea, the PCG ships will always be in the West Philippine Sea to sustain our presence and assert our sovereign rights.”