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Chinese Ship Allegedly Fired a Laser at One of the Philippine Coast Guard’s Vessels

February 14, 2023 ChinaPhilippines Events & Announcements

In disputed South China Sea seas last week, the Philippine Coast Guard claims a China Coast Guard ship shot several of its workers aboard a vessel with a “military grade” laser, temporarily rendering them blind.

The Philippine Coast Guard claimed in a statement published on its official Facebook page that the Chinese ship “made unsafe maneuvers” when it approached within 150 yards (137 meters) of the Philippine vessel and included images that appeared to show the laser’s green beam.

China was asked by CNN for comment on the charges, but no reaction was given.

Ayungin Shoal, also called Second Thomas Shoal, is part of the Spratly Islands chain, also known as the Nansha Islands in China. The event is said to have taken place on February 6 close to this location.

Over practically all of the 1.3 million square mile South China Sea, as well as the majority of its islands, China asserts “indisputable sovereignty.” Included in this are the Spratlys, an archipelago of 100 tiny islands and reefs that are also fully or partially claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.

The BRP Sierra Madre, a navy transport ship still manned by Filipino marines, was purposefully grounded on Second Thomas Shoal in 1999 to assert Manila’s claim to the region, which it refers to as the West Philippine Sea.

According to the Philippine announcement, the Chinese ship challenged the Philippine ship BRP Malapascua on February 6 when it was attempting to restock the Sierra Madre.

“The Chinese ship twice shone the green laser light at the BRP Malapascua, temporarily blinding her bridge personnel. The Chinese ship also engaged in risky tactics by coming within 150 yards of the vessel’s starboard quarter, according to the announcement.

“The purposeful obstruction of Philippine government ships en route to the BRP Sierra Madre carrying our military personnel is a flagrant disregard for and a clear infringement of Philippine sovereign rights in this part of the West Philippine Sea,” the statement reads.

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