Home News Philippine police seize Chinese vessel in disputed waters

Philippine police seize Chinese vessel in disputed waters

MANILA – Philippine police seized a Chinese vessel with 11 crew members off a disputed South China Sea shoal that is within country’s exclusive economic zone, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

The boat was intercepted on Tuesday morning near Half Moon Shoal off Palawan province, 630 kilometres south-West of Manila, said Senior Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac.

Sindac said that 120 live turtles and 234 dead turtles were found in the Chinese vessel, which was being towed to Palawan.

Police also detained a Philippine boat with five crew members and seized 70 turtles from vessel, he added.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying urged the Philippines to release the Chinese boat and crew immediately, and refrain from taking “more provocative action”.

The ministry had already “lodged representations” with the Philippine government, while Chinese maritime police had arrived in the area where the boat was seized, Hua said.

Half Moon Shoal is within the Philippines’ 320-kilometre exclusive economic zone, but it is part of the disputed South China Sea that is claimed almost entirely by Beijing.

Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Taiwan have all lay claim to the area, believed to be rich in marine and mineral resources.

The arrest was expected to further raise tensions between Beijing and Manila, which has filed an arbitration case before an international tribunal to question Beijing’s claims. (dpa/NAN)

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