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Wild video captures a Chinese Coast Guard ship collide with a Philippine vessel while battering it with a powerful water cannon

Chris Panella   

Wild video captures a Chinese Coast Guard ship collide with a Philippine vessel while battering it with a powerful water cannon
  • A video shows a Chinese ship colliding with a Philippine vessel while firing water cannons.
  • The Philippine Coast Guard says the vessel took damage from the attack.

Chinese Coast Guard ships confronted a pair of Philippine vessels this week, harassing, ramming, and firing water cannons at them, according to Philippine authorities.

Official videos and other footage from media members show the latest flare-up between the two countries as China continues to defy international legal rulings on South China Sea territory and engage Philippine vessels in Manila's exclusive economic zone.

The Philippine Coast Guard shared video footage on Tuesday of the incident.

The footage shows Chinese vessels firing water cannons at a Philippine Coast Guard ship and a vessel of the country's Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the BRP Bagacay and BRP Datu Bankaw, as the two vessels carried out a "legitimate maritime patrol" near Scarborough Shoal, a contested area of the South China Sea inside the Philippine's exclusive economic zone where China forcefully exerts control.

In the released footage, two larger Chinese vessels surround one of the Philippine ships, firing water cannons from each side.

"During the patrol, the Philippine vessels encountered dangerous maneuvers and obstruction from four China Coast Guard vessels and six Chinese Maritime Militia vessels," Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Commodore Jay Tarriela said.

The latest confrontation resulted "in damage to the railing and canopy," Tarriela added, including a picture for evidence. "This damage serves as evidence of the forceful water pressure used by the China Coast Guard in their harassment of the Philippine vessels."

The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea said in a statement that China's behavior was "shocking and appalling" and that embedded press were able to witness and experience firsthand the "illegal, coercive, aggressive, and dangerous actions" of the Chinese side.

Local News5 journalist Gio Robles published videos to X from the incident showing scenes from aboard the Datu Bankaw.

The Telegraph's Asia correspondent Nicola Smith was aboard the Philippine Coast Guard ship Bagacay and wrote of the experience that as the Chinese ships hammered the vessel with their water cannons, "all you could hear was the thundering of the water and more frantic shouts of the crew."

Smith said the ship's canopy broke under the intense assault and that the Datu Bankaw suffered interior flooding and damage to the onboard radar.

China's Coast Guard said in a post on the country's Weibo social media platform that it had expelled the Philippine vessels for "intruding" in its waters "in accordance with the law."

The Philippines, on the other hand, said the vessels "stood their ground and continued their maritime patrol. They were not deterred and will persist in carrying out their legitimate operations to support Filipino fishermen and ensure their safety."

The video posted on X of a Chinese Coast Guard ship colliding with the Datu Bankaw while spraying it with water notably showed that the Chinese ship was "specifically targeting the Philippine ship's navigation and communication equipment," Tom Shugart, a former US Navy officer and current adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security think tank, wrote on social media.

"It's aiming to do damage, not just ward off," he said.

It's the latest fight between the two countries as China continues to dominate disputed waters in the South China Sea, defying international law and asserting its dominance in the strategic waterway. Scarborough Shoal, which has a constant Chinese Coast Guard presence, but the Philippines continues to press its claims to this area.

There have been numerous Chinese attacks on Philippine ships. A recent one in March saw a Chinese water cannon destroy a Philippine ship's windows and injure four sailors.

The Philippine Coast Guard said Tuesday that China had reinstalled a roughly 1,200-foot floating barrier that "covers the entire entrance of the shoal, effectively restricting access to the area," a prime fishing spot.