20240618 135534 00001

Chinese and Philippine Ships Collide in South China Sea

A collision between a Philippine supply ship and a Chinese vessel occurred near the disputed Second Thomas Shoal also known as Ayungin Shoal by the Philippines and Ren’ai Reef by China. The incident is the first since China implemented a new coastguard law allowing the detention of suspected trespassers for up to 60 days.

Chinese and Philippine Ships Collide in South China Sea

Also Read: Sikkim Landslides: 9 Dead and Over 1,200 Tourists Stranded

The Second Thomas Shoal is a contested area in the Spratly Islands claimed by both China and the Philippines.

The Philippines grounded the BRP Sierra Madre, an old World War II-era ship on the shoal in 1999, using it as a makeshift military outpost.

China’s coastguard accused the Philippine ship of illegally entering Chinese waters and dangerously approaching Chinese vessels leading to the collision.

Beijing’s coastguard claims to have acted within legal bounds, taking “necessary control measures” to prevent the delivery of construction materials.

The Philippines rejected China’s claims labeling them as deceptive and misleading. The Philippine Armed Forces highlighted the illegal presence of Chinese vessels within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and defended the resupply mission as a legal effort.

The collision occurred during a resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre. No injuries or damage were reported.

China’s enacted law allows its coastguard to detain suspected trespassers for up to 60 days and take other enforcement actions including using lethal force if necessary. This law is seen as an effort to strengthen China’s claims over disputed maritime areas.

The South China Sea is a hotspot for territorial disputes involving multiple nations including the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and China.

A 2016 international tribunal ruling rejected China’s sweeping claims over the South China Sea, which Beijing continues to disregard.

The G7 criticized China’s use of its coastguard and maritime militia in the South China Sea.

The Philippines has submitted a claim to the United Nations for an extended continental shelf off the coast of Palawan.

Tensions are not limited to the Second Thomas Shoal. China’s coastguard has taken restrictive measures against Philippine vessels at Sabina Shoal (Escoda Shoal), located west of Palawan.

Also Read: Fire at Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market Claims Lives of 1,000 Animals

The Second Thomas Shoal is located around 200 kilometers from the Philippine island of Palawan and over 1,000 kilometers from China’s Hainan island.

Chinese state media accused the Philippine vessel of ignoring repeated warnings and behaving recklessly. They described the actions of the Philippine ship as dangerous and unprofessional leading to the collision.

The Philippines countered by accusing Chinese naval, coast guard and militia vessels of engaging in illegal and aggressive actions including the act of ramming their supply ship.

They labeled China’s actions as an infringement on Philippine sovereignty. The U.S. ambassador to the Philippines condemned China’s maneuvers, stating that they caused bodily injury and damaged the Philippine vessel.

The collision took place near the Second Thomas Shoal, a submerged reef within the Spratly Islands, which is claimed by multiple nations including China and the Philippines.

The shoal is within 200 nautical miles of the Philippine coast and is part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as determined by a 2016 international tribunal ruling. Despite this China has rejected the ruling and maintains its claims over the area.

A decaying Philippine warship, the Sierra Madre is stationed at the Second Thomas Shoal. It serves both as a symbol of the Philippines’ claim to the area and an outpost to deter Chinese encroachment.

Over the past decade, China has increased its naval and coast guard patrols to enforce its claimed boundaries in the South China Sea.

These actions have frequently led to confrontations with the Philippines involving tactics such as using water cannons on Philippine vessels, damaging equipment and physically blocking access.

On June 4, 2024, Chinese coast guard allegedly seized supplies intended for Filipino naval personnel.

On April 30, 2024, Chinese coast guard fired water cannons at Philippine patrol vessels near the Scarborough Shoal.

On March 23, 2024, a Chinese coast guard vessel hit a Philippine supply boat with water cannons, causing injuries and damage.

Also Read: South Korea Fires Warning Shots After North Korean Troops Crossed Border

Top Sources Related to Chinese and Philippine Ships Collide in South China Sea (For R&D)


DW News:

South China Morning Post:

New York Times:

AL Jazeera:

CNN News:


More From Author