Filipino fishing boats in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) once again fell victim to harassment from the China Coast Guard on April 4, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesperson for the WPS Commodore Jay Tarriela said.

In a post on his X (formerly Twitter) account, Tarriela said the fishing boats joined a PCG vessel and a Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) team who were deploying floating fish aggregate devices (payao) near Rozul Reef when two CCG vessels (21551 and 21556) arrived and began harassing the Filipino fishing boats.

Tarriela said the two CCG vessels are among the usual interdictors in the Philippine resupply operations to Filipino troops in Ayungin Shoal.

“The Chinese Coast Guard vessels went as far as pretending to man their water cannons and threatening the Filipino fishermen, demonstrating China’s unlawful behavior aimed at depriving the Filipinos of their rights to access the resources in our Exclusive Economic Zone,” he said.

“This aggressive action stems from China’s greed and unfounded claim that these waters belong to them based on their imaginary dashed line,” he added.

Rozul Reef is inside the Philippines’ 200 nautical mile exclusive econimic zone (EEZ), located approximately 128 nautical miles away from Palawan.