Another Chinese survey vessel found operating in PH waters

MANILA, Philippines – After a Chinese oceanographic survey ship was found operating off the east coast of the Philippines, another Chinese survey vessel was seen in the Philippines' exclusive economic zone, map images tracking the vessel's movement showed.

US Naval War College's Ryan Martinson tweeted images of the vessel operating in waters near Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, on Wednesday night, August 7. Martinson is an assistant professor at the China Maritime Studies Institute at the Naval War College.

Add the Dong Fang Hong 3 to the list of Chinese survey ships operating in the Philippines exclusive economic zone today. Would require Manila’s permission to conduct research there. (file photo) pic.twitter.com/j8lx96E1tR — Ryan Martinson (@rdmartinson88) August 7, 2019

 

The presence of "Dong Fang Hong 3" comes after Chinese oceanographic survey ship "Zhanjian" was spotted operating some 80 nautical miles off the east coast of the Philippines on Tuesday night, August 6. Map images also showed Zhanjian has been operating in Philippine waters since Saturday, August 3. (LOOK: Chinese survey ship found operating in PH waters)

Like Zhanjian, it is unclear if Dong Fang Hong 3 was operating with permission from the Philippine government. 

Responding to a reporter's question, Martinson said the Chinese survey vessels' activities were not "unique" considering China's "voracious appetite" for marine data.

Greg Poling, one of the world's leading experts on the South China Sea, earlier pointed out it is crucial to know what kind of surveys Chinese vessels are doing and whether or not they have the Philippine government's permission.

If the vessel is undertaking a scientific survey, it must request permission from Manila following the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to which both the Philippines and China are signatories.

Rappler sought a response from Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on the Dong Fang Hong 3's presence in Philippine waters but he declined to comment due to "insufficiency of facts."

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr earlier said he would only rely on military information and recommendations before confirming if foreign survey vessels were operating in Philippine waters. (READ: China survey vessel in PH waters? Not until AFP says so – Locsin) – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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