The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Saturday, July 14, 2012, 6:14 p.m.

Stuck Chinese warship taken off disputed shoal

MANILA, Philippines — Chinese navy ships safely removed one of the country's warships Sunday from a disputed shoal off the western Philippines where it had run aground while on a security patrol and sparked fears of another maritime standoff in the South China Sea.
The warship will sail back to port with minor damage, and no crew member was injured, Chinese Embassy spokesman Zhang Hua said in a statement.
The frigate got stuck Wednesday night on Half Moon Shoal, about 110 kilometers (70 miles) from the western Philippine province of Palawan, prompting China and the Philippines to send rescue ships there. Both countries were already locked in a tense dispute over another shoal off the northwestern Philippines.
The South China Sea is a flashpoint in diplomatic relations, with various Asian nations claiming whole or part of its islands and waters.
Philippine navy chief Vice Admiral Alexander Pama said at least six Chinese navy ships and vessels, along with smaller utility boats, helped refloat the stalled frigate. Filipino coast guard search and rescue vessels had been deployed near the scene to help if needed, he said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila said Saturday the Philippines was investigating the circumstances that led to the accident, which happened well within the country's territorial waters.
The Chinese frigate had apparently been sailing in Malaysian and Philippine waters before the accident, according to a Philippine military official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Brig. Gen. Elmer Amon, deputy chief of the Philippine military's Western Command, said Filipino vessels would continue to monitor the shoal amid the continuing presence of Chinese navy ships in the area.
The shoal where the warship ran aground is called Hasa Hasa by the Philippines and claimed by China as part of the Nansha island chain, known internationally as the Spratlys. The Spratly islands are a major cluster of potentially oil- and gas-rich islands and reefs long disputed by China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei.
Chinese and Philippine officials are still negotiating an end to a tense maritime dispute over the Scarborough Shoal, about 700 kilometers (400 miles) away, which has been going on for more than three months. The Philippines has withdrawn its ships from Scarborough to ease tensions, but Chinese government surveillance ships have remained in the area.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

HeraldNet Classifieds