PCG forces Chinese Navy ship away from Marie Louise Bank in West Philippine Sea

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A Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) patrol ship chased a Chinese Navy destroyer away from the Marie Louise Bank, which is located 147 nautical miles off the coast of El Nido, Palawan.

The PCG said in a Facebook post on Monday that on July 13 in Marie Louise Bank in the West Philippine Sea, BRP Cabra (MRRV-4409) observed a “navy warship” bearing the People’s Republic of China (PRC) flag and displaying Chinese characters.

The BRP Cabra “calmly” issued a radio challenge to the navy warship while watching its progress with its radar, according to the report.

“Lumapit rin ang PCG vessel para mas maaninag ang aktibidad na isinasagawa ng Chinese Navy warship sa katubigan,” the PCG said.

BRP Cabra, led by Commander Erwin Tolentino, did not receive a verbal response, causing the PCG to send a verbal challenge to the Chinese vessel using its Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD).

“Matapos nito, nagsimulang gumalaw ang barko palabas ng Marie Louise Bank. Sinundan ito ng BRP Cabra para masigurong lilisanin nito ang nasabing katubigan na bahagi ng exclusive economic zone (EEZ) ng Pilipinas,” the PCG said.

When the PCG ship was about 500 to 600 yards away from the Chinese battleship, it radioed BRP Cabra to maintain a two-nautical-mile separation.

“Sa kabila nito, nagpatuloy ang mahigpit na pagbabantay ng BRP Cabra sa Chinese Navy warship gamit ang ‘Rules on the Use of Force (RUF)’. Ito ay hanggang sa tuluyang nakalabas ng Marie Louise Bank ang nasabing foreign state vessel na tumakbo sa bilis na 9.4 knots,” the PCG said.

It stated that the BRP Cabra’s operations were guided by the “PCG manual on rules on the use of force within the Philippines’ EEZ” in order to maintain a “rules-based peaceful approach” to enforcing the country’s sovereignty and safeguarding its borders.

BRP Cabra’s patrol in the Marie Louise Bank and the Kalayaan Island Group in Palawan is part of the PCG’s “Task Force Pagsasanay” mission, according to the PCG.

PCG Commandant Admiral George Ursabia Jr. created the task force on April 6 to help guarantee the health and safety of Filipino fishermen in the Philippines’ EEZ and in the West Philippines Sea.

Five Chinese ships and two Vietnamese ships were spotted inside the Marie Louise Bank on June 30, and BRP Cabra chased them away.

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