Philippines Supply Ships Reinforced with Hardshell to Resist Chinese Water Cannons

The Philippines lodged accusations against China on June 17 for a violent assault on its navy during a resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre in the South China Sea.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 08:36 AM, June 20, 2024
  • 1068
Philippines Supply Ships Reinforced with Hardshell to Resist Chinese Water Cannons
Philippine resupply ship with hardshell @CCG

The Philippine Navy (PN) has reinforced its supply ships with a protective cover to resist water cannon assaults by the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG).

PN supply ships are providing materials to the anchored BRP Sierra Madre stationed in Ayungin Shoal, which China claims as part of its maritime territory, a claim Manila disputes.

A photo released by the CCG regarding Monday's altercation between a PN supply ship and a CCG vessel shows the former covered in some form of material to protect against water cannon charges.

China's semi-official Global Times reported that the photo shows "the CCG's interception, boarding, inspection, and expulsion of Philippine vessels when they illegally intruded into waters near China's Ren'ai Jiao (also known as Ren'ai Reef) in the South China Sea on Monday."

CCG has regularly deployed water cannons that throw high-pressure water charges, which can propel crew overboard with the force of water.

On June 17, 2024, the Philippines lodged accusations against China for a violent assault on its navy during a resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre in the South China Sea. The CCG allegedly employed weapons such as knives and axes against Philippine vessels. This confrontation led to injuries among Filipino sailors, with one individual losing a thumb as a result. A Philippines foreign ministry statement denounced the “illegal and aggressive actions” of the Chinese near the Ayungin Shoal.

Beijing claims CCG's law enforcement measures were aimed at intercepting illegal Philippine supplies and did not involve direct actions against Philippine personnel.

After reviewing photos taken at the scene of the incident, a Chinese expert informed the Global Times that the Philippines' supply vessels were reinforced with hard shells in an apparent attempt to resist water cannons, given the CCG's history of deploying water cannons to warn off Philippine trespassing vessels. The Philippines' main supply ship had the words "safety first" painted on its hull.

China has alleged that the Philippines' main supply ship dangerously approached and intentionally collided with Chinese vessels. Compared with previous incidents, the latest event saw the CCG board and conduct inspections of the Philippine vessels, according to observers.

Philippines Supply Ships Reinforced with Hardshell to Resist Chinese Water Cannons
China Coast Guard personnel inspect Filipino supply boat on June 17 @CCG

A photo showed that one of the Philippines' hard-shelled inflatable boats was closely surrounded by four Chinese boats - a small boat from the CCG Ship 21551, a small boat from a Chinese fishing ship, and two speed boats - when CCG law enforcement personnel boarded the Filipino vessel, inspecting onboard items and holding its crew at the boat's bow.

CCG spokesperson Gan Yu said on Monday that the country’s coast guard took control measures in accordance with the law, including issuing warnings, intercepting, boarding, and conducting inspections, and forcibly driving them away, actions he deemed appropriate, lawful, professional, and standardized.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian stated at a regular press conference on Wednesday that “the Philippines repeatedly claimed that their supplies were living materials, but the truth is that they kept secretly supplying building materials, even weapons and munitions, attempting to permanently occupy Ren'ai Jiao.”

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