Chinese ships remain at Scarborough Shoal, says Alcantara

April 24, 2012 9:51 pm 

MANILA, April 24 — Northern Luzon Command head Lt. Gen. Anthony Alcantara on Tuesday belied Chinese claims that most of their vessels, including "Yuzchen 310" had already left Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, adding that latest sighting reports from the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard indicate that the watercraft are still encroaching on Philippine maritime territory.

"As of 8 p.m., April 23, there are still three small Chinese fishing boats inside Panatag Shoal. There are also two small fishing boats inside and these are five nautical miles away from the relative position of BRP Pampanga (SAR-003) while their CMS-71 is estimated to be 12 nautical miles away from our Coast Guard ship and their 'Yuzchen 310' is eight nautical miles southeast of Panatag," Alcantara said in press briefing at Northern Luzon Command headquarters, Camp Servillano Aquino, Tarlac.

He also said that the vessels were all confirmed visually by the crew of BRP Pampanga, belying China's claims that their vessels have left the disputed waters.

"We are not doubting their claims, we are just telling the truth," he said.

Alcantara also explained that the temporary departure of "Yuzchen 310' was attributed to the vessel's constant movement.

"Most likely, our ship lost visual contact with it while it was making one of its patrol turns," the Northern Luzon Command chief said.

Alcantara said that another Philippine-flagged ship, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources' MCS 3006 has joined BRP Pampanga and is now anchored off Panatag Shoal conducting an inventory of the marine life in the area.

Both vessels arrived at the disputed territory Monday.

Alcantara also said that the Coast Guard was prepared to defend Filipino fishermen against all forms of harassment to ensure that the latter could still make a living out of the sea despite the ongoing maritime tiff between China and the Philippines. (PNA) DCT/RMA/PFN

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