Commodore Jay Tarriela confirmed Thursday the presence of China Coast Guard vessel 5901, dubbed the “monster ship,” near the shores of El Nido in northern Palawan on June 25.

Tarriela, the Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea national task force, stated on his X account that the colossal vessel kept a distance of 38 nautical miles from Palawan’s mainland.

They used Canada’s dark vessel detecting equipment to trace its movement within the country’s territorial seas during the last 10 days.

CCG 5901 departed from Hainan, China, on June 17 and intruded into the territorial seas of the Philippines, passing by Parola and Pag-asa islands in Kalayaan town, thus violating the nation’s sovereignty.

After navigating the waters around these two islands, it proceeded to Zamora Reef, where it anchored overnight before moving on to Bayani and Union Banks.

Tarriela said that on June 20, the massive ship approached Kagitingan Reef, likely to replenish logistical supplies before encroaching upon the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of Malaysia and Brunei.

“She once again headed north and entered the Philippine EEZ once more. She passed through Rizal Reef and made a supply stop at Panganiban Reef on June 23. The following day, she continued to navigate within the Philippines EEZ, selectively passing through Lawak and Patag, and then making a quick southeasterly turn to pass through Escoda Shoal,” he stated.

After passing through Escoda Shoal, CCG 5901 proceeded directly towards El Nido, Palawan, maintaining a close distance of 34 nautical miles from its coastline. He said it then made a quick maneuvere towards Bajo De Masinloc (BDM), where it was escorted by three additional vessels of the CCG.

Following an idle period at BDM, it resumed its journey towards Hainan. As of 8 a.m. yesterday morning, Tarriela said most recent data indicated that CCG 5901 was last observed 46 nautical miles southeast of Sanya, Hainan.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) military public affairs chief Col. Xerxes Trinidad, in a statement issued on June 26, said CCG 5901 is the same vessel that they have been tracking.

They are closely monitoring all activities in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) of the CCG ship, particularly near BRP Sierra Madre as part their “commitment to maritime domain awareness and the protection of our territorial integrity, sovereignty, and sovereign rights.”

“The presence of this 12,000-ton CCG ship near BRP Sierra Madre is part of a broader pattern of intrusive patrols aimed at asserting unlawful claims over areas within the Philippines’ EEZ,” he said.

Before the sighting of the CCG maritime vessel, four Chinese naval warships—two destroyers, an oiler, and a frigate—were also monitored passing through the Balabac Strait. When they were challenged, the crew of the naval ships claimed innocent passage.

The Balabac Strait, where they were initially sighted, is a crucial sea lane used by international vessels transporting cargo to Malaysia.