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China Coast Guard water-cannons anew Ayungin-bound civilian Philippine boat

MANILA, Philippines — A China Coast Guard vessel again blasted a Filipino supply boat with water cannons during the latter's attempt to bring much needed supplies to soldiers stationed at the Ayungin (Scarborough) Shoal, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reported Saturday morning.

According to the AFP report, Chinese vessel BN21551 performed a "dangerous maneuver" against Philippine Supply vessel Unaizah May 4 (UM4), which was said to be on a "rotation and resupply mission" for troops aboard the BRP Sierra Madre.

"At 08:38 AM, the Philippine supply vessel Unaizah May 4 was subjected to direct water cannoning by two CCG vessels near Ayungin Shoal," said the AFP today.

"The UM4 supply boat sustained heavy damages at around 08:52 due to the continued blasting of water cannons from the CCG vessels."

BN21551 earlier "crossed the bow" against the supply boat at around 6:08 a.m. and later on performed a "reverse blocking maneauver," causing a near collision by 7:09 a.m.

China Coast Guard starting blasting Unzainaj May 4 at around 7:59 a.m. with a water canon, "deliberately targeting and hitting the supply boat."

The aggressive act is just but one of the many blocking and water cannon incidents deployed by Chinese government vessels against Filipinos within the West Philippine Sea, even it is well within Manila's 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Beijing, to this day, claims most of the South China Sea — a body of water which overlaps with the West Philippine Sea — even after the Permanent Court of Arbitration rejected its nine-dash line claim in the area.

The AFP earlier said that the UM4 was a civilian vessel and contracted to conduct a roation and resupply (RoRe) operation at the Ayungin Shoal to sustain Filipino  troops stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre.

"UM4 is one of two civilian vessels involved in the RoRe mission last March 5. Due to damage sustained during water cannoning by the China Coast Guard, UM4 was unable to complete its mission," said the AFP early this morning.

"The Area Task Force West will dedicate two Philippine Navy ships, with two more from the Philippine Coast Guard as escort to UM4, to support the mission."