Philippines says Beijing installed floating barrier in contested area
has accused China of installing a “floating barrier” to stop fishing boats from entering a disputed area in the South China Sea.
A 300m (1,000ft) obstacle in Scarborough Shoal is preventing fishermen from working in a lagoon.
Earlier this year, China seized the shoal in the South China Sea, which it claims to cover more than 90% of the ocean.
A patrol of the Philippine coast guard discovered the barrier on Friday, according to Commodore Jay Tarriela.
The barrier was installed by three Chinese coast guard boats and a Chinese maritime militia service boat when the Philippine vessel arrived, he said.
“On realizing the presence of media personnel on board the (Filipino) vessel”, the Chinese boats issued 15 radio challenges and accused the Philippine ship and fishermen of violating international and Chinese laws.
A Reuters news agency request for comment was not immediately responded to by China’s embassy in Manila.
According to Cmdr Tarriela of the Philippine coast guard, the barrier is “depriving [fishermen] of their livelihood”.
According to Filipino fishermen, China often installs such barriers when there are a lot of fishermen in a particular area.
While working with concerned governments, his organization would maintain maritime rights and protect maritime domains.
There are extensive oil and gas reserves in the South China Sea, which is a rich fishing ground. This area is home to more than half of the world’s fishing vessels.
China’s claims, which include sovereignty over land parcels and adjacent waters, have angered not only the Philippines, but also Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei.
The Chinese have built islands and patrolled the seas to support their expansive claims.