- A US Navy warship patrolling the Scarborough Shoal has given fishermen new hopes of returning to the West Philippine Sea
- For some time, the fishermen have avoided Scarborough Shoal due to the presence of Chinese vessels
- After the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague favored the Philippines over the disputed waters, talks about the territory continue to be negotiated
The sight of a gray warship patrolling just near Scarborough Shoal has given fishermen a brand new hope.
Fishing boat captain Aniceto Achina revealed that the unidentified boat has been in the area both before and after the ruling was released by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. Achina, who leads JJM fishing boat, also said that the vessel might belong to the US Navy.
“It was distinct from the Chinese vessels patrolling the shoal,” said Achina. Achina often goes to the shoal together with his 12-man crew.
On the other hand, Larry Alaras, also a fisherman, said that the vessel can be seen about 17 miles from the shoal. He also believes that the vessel is most likely a US ship. He also admitted that he has seen something like it before, probably in Subic Bay.
Alara also revealed that the vessel has not been moving. It has also kept its distance from five Chinese Coast Guard ships. Such ships have prompted the Filipino fishermen to refrain from exploring the area.
“It’s been there for quite a long time now. At times it disappeared but it would always return,” Alaras said.
A US Navy ship has also arrived for a routine port call at the Subic Bay Freeport. The ship has been seen patrolling the West Philippine Sea.
The ship, the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Shiloh, was reported to have docked at the Alava Pier just right after completing patrol assignments in the West Philippine Sea.
In a related news, the United States Coast Guard has turned over to the Philippine Navy the USCG Boutwell on Friday.
The transfer ceremony was reported to have been held at the Coast Guard Base in Alameda.
“The decommissioned cutter was declared an excess government asset and is being transferred to the Philippines through the Excess Defense Articles program,” an advisory previously stated. - Kami Media