The Philippine navy ship BRP Sierra Madre was grounded in 1999 to assert Manila's territorial claims at Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands in the disputed South China Sea.

Philippines accuses Chinese vessels of firing water cannon on ships resupplying South China Sea military outpost

By Kathleen Magramo, Larry Register and CNN’s Beijing Bureau |

CNN  — Manila accused Chinese ships of firing water cannons and making “dangerous maneuvers” toward Philippine vessels resupplying a remote military outpost on Friday, in the latest of a string of incidents between the two countries in the disputed South China Sea.

Philippine authorities said a Chinese coast guard vessel had fired water cannon against its vessel M/L Kalayaan in “an illegal though unsuccessful attempt to force [it] to alter course,” as it took part in a routine resupply mission to troops stationed on the BRP Sierra Madre in the Second Thomas Shoal.

The Philippines also claimed that vessels belonging to a Chinese maritime militia were involved in the harassment and that two Philippine boats were subjected to “reckless” and “dangerous” harassment by inflatable boats belonging to the Chinese coast guard.

The BRP Sierra Madre is a former US Navy ship the Philippines grounded in 1999 at the Second Thomas Shoal – known as Ayungin Shoal to Manila and Ren’ai Reef to Beijing – to enforce its claim to the area.

That claim is hotly disputed by China and the two countries have been involved in increasingly frequent run-ins in the highly contested waterway.

A spokesperson for China’s coast guard, Gan Yu, said in a statement that two small transport vessels and three marine police vessels from the Philippines “entered the waters adjacent to Ren’ai Reef in China’s Nansha Islands without the permission of the Chinese government.”

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