Photo courtesy of Philippine Navy

Filipino troops stationed at the rusting BRP Sierra Madre recently offered help to a Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) boat in distress but the latter rejected and even blamed the Philippine side as the reason it got stuck, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Saturday.

The incident happened as the CCG’s rigid-hull inflatable boat was tailing a Philippine vessel that was en route to resupply Sierra Madre at the Ayungin Shoal after a tense cat-and-mouse sea chase with bigger CCG and Chinese maritime militia (CMM) ships on Friday.

The Chinese rubber boat got entangled with the mooring line of a Filipino fishing boat that was around 50 yards away from the BRP Sierra Madre, AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar narrated during the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City.

“Our troops stationed at BRP Sierra Madre offered their assistance, actually, two rubber boats. They proceeded to the area to help the RHIB of China. Of course, China refused because they don’t want Filipinos to be helping them,” he said.

The Chinese rubber boat was eventually rescued by another boat deployed by CCG vessel 21616, one of the four CCG vessels that “harassed” and attempted to block the Filipino boats and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) while on their way to Ayungin.

“Now, what is quite amusing is that they still have the guts to challenge our troops through radio message. They said that Philippine Coast Guard, because of your maneuvers, of your blocking maneuvers, the China Coast Guard RHIB 21616 got entangled,” Aguilar shared.

“This is one narrative probably that they will again raise or tell their people about abuses that we are committing,” he added.

PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, Commodore Jay Tarriela, earlier said the latest AFP resupply mission was successfully completed despite “challenging circumstances brought about by the illegal presence and activities of the CCG and CMM in our exclusive economic zone.”

During the mission, Tarriela said at least four CCG vessels (CCG 21616, 21551, 21556 and 5305) and the four CMM vessels (Qiong Sansha Yu 00231, 00115, 00114 and 00008) harassed and conducted “dangerous maneuvers” while the Philippine ships were passing through. (PNA)