A large piece of metal debris suspected to be part of a Chinese satellite rocket was found floating on the waters off Kalayaan town in the West Philippine Sea on Sunday morning by an island resident, who also claimed that it was taken away by the China Coast Guard (CCG) stationed nearby from a Philippine Navy (PN) boat that was towing it back to land.

Palawan News was told of the close call between CCG and PN personnel in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) by a reliable official source who asked not to be named and who also said that the incident happened around 9 to 11 a.m. Sunday, November 20.

The source claimed that a rubber boat dispatched by the Philippine Navy to retrieve the debris was intercepted by a CCG vessel moored just 2-3 nautical miles from a tiny sandbar right across Pag-asa Island, by cutting the cable line attached to the debris.

“This morning may nag-report sa navy regarding the sighting ng debris… ang ginawa ng navy official na nandoon, using a binocular, tiningnan niya, and then parang ano nga daw po… debris from China rocket. So, nag-launch yong navy ng rubber boat para hilahin,” the source claimed.

“Noong malapit na po sila sa Sandbar 1, nagpababa ng aluminum boat ang China Coast Guard, at pinutol ng mga tao nila yong tali para hindi makuha yong debris. Mga 9-11 a.m. nangyari,” the source added. The CCG vessel was only around 2 to 3 nautical miles from Pag-asa Island.

The source further said that the debris seems to be quite large given that it is visible from the shores and with the use of binoculars.

Previously, pieces of metal debris thought to be from the Chinese rocket Long March 5B were found in the waters off Occidental Mindoro and Palawan. The rocket was launched By China from its Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan.

The Western Command (WESCOM) and the National Task Force on the WPS have yet to issue a statement on the reported incident, which happened two days before the visit of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris to Palawan.

Harris is scheduled to arrive on November 22 to meet with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), civil society groups, and local government officials. She is expected to board the BRP Teresa Magbanua multi-role response vessel that the PCG uses to patrol the WPS. (with a report from Arphil Ballarta)

About Post Author

Previous articleCapitol reiterates being ‘plastic-free’
Next articleProv’l gov’t to address malnutrition, upgrade health workers capability