A Philippine Navy frigate has been stranded on a sandbank in the disputed waters of the South China Sea since Wednesday night, although the entire crew is unharmed, military sources confirmed…
The spokesman for the Philippine Armed Forces, Colonel Noel Detoyato, said in a statement that the BRP frigate Gregorio del Pilar ran aground near a shoal known as Half Moon Shoal and located on the Spratly Islands.
Detoyato pointed out that several Navy ships have already been mobilized “to carry out an evaluation, recover the stranded ship and return it to a safe harbour“, in addition to assisting the personnel on board the BRP del Pilar, the Philippine press picks up today.
The sandbar is located at the eastern end of the Spratly archipelago, a collection of more than 750 reefs, islets and cays that are fully or partially disputed in the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei.
China, which claims the totality of this maritime space, has built buildings for military use on several of these islands despite the fact that two years ago the Permanent Court of Arbitration of The Hague (CPA) attributed to the Philippines the rights over that area, a ruling that Beijing does not recognize.
The frigate aground is one of the three ships of the United States Coast Guard acquired by the armed forces of the Asian country and are currently the largest warships in the Philippines.
Source: La Vanguardia