Philippine supply boat ‘rammed’ by China Coast Guard vessel: Official

Philippine supply boat 'rammed' by China Coast Guard vessel: Official

A handful of Filipino troops are stationed on the crumbling BRP Sierra Madre, which the Philippine Navy grounded on the reef in 1999 to check China’s advance in the waters.

The troops depend on the resupply missions for their survival.

Tarriela said the two supply boats and a Philippine Coast Guard vessel escorting the mission were water cannoned.

One of the supply boats suffered engine damage while the other supply boat was “rammed” by a Chinese patrol ship.

It is not clear if the supply boats were able to deliver their cargo.

The Philippines and China have a long history of maritime incidents in the contested South China Sea, through which trillions of dollars of trade pass annually.

China claims almost the entire waterway and has ignored a 2016 ruling by the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration that its claims have no legal basis.

Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims to the sea.

Tensions between Manila and Beijing have escalated this year as China becomes more assertive in pressing its claims to the waters, with the Philippines publishing strongly-worded statements with videos and photos of the incidents.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, who took power in June 2022, warned last month that the situation in the South China Sea had become “more dire”.