Philippine officials accuse the Chinese Coast Guard of opening fire with water cannons on three marine supply ships on Sunday, the Associated Press reports.
The news agency spoke to one Filipino naval officer who said that the three supply ships were providing assistance in the disputed Spratly Islands to ships from the Chinese embassy in Manila. The military official claimed that one of the Filipino marine supply vessels was working to aid an anti-government pirate group operating in the area, while two others helped to support the embassy.
Philippine Navy Chief Alexander Pama alleged that the Chinese Coast Guard fired more than a dozen water cannons at the Filipino ships, which wounded one Filipino sailor.
An army soldier stands by their vessel that was hit by gunshots fired by Chinese Coast Guard on Sunday. (Tarmizk Alexander/Reuters)
“It was a Chinese vessel. We saw the Chinese fired at the said vessels,” said Pama.
A second Philippine military official claimed that the Chinese Coast Guard vessels had intimidated the three marine supply ships, saying that they “unloaded two containers of supplies” onto the deck of the cargo ship. The official further claimed that the Chinese ships were flying a Chinese flag and had transited through the nearest port when they opened fire on the supply vessels.
Local radio host Liz Bonbiso said that she saw the incident, and later informed local media that Chinese patrol boats had “harassed” the two marine supply ships and one cargo ship prior to firing at them. In an interview with The Associated Press, Bontibiso said that the ship she had seen was taking supplies from the marine supply ships. The ship she saw had no markings that appeared to belong to the Chinese coast guard.
Read the full story at The Associated Press.
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