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Philippines resupply boatheavily damaged

MANILA, Philippines — Again, using water cannons and executing dangerous maneuvers, the Chinese coast guard (CCG) made another attempt yesterday to block Filipino vessels from resupplying a military outpost on the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal, causing “major damage” and triggering condemnation from the US, the European Union and Japan.

Again, Beijing blamed the Philippines for the incident, saying the resupply mission was a “provocative move that infringes upon China’s sovereignty.”

National Security Adviser Eduardo Año immediately called for a high-level security meeting – tentatively set for Monday – to discuss the next actions to be taken and recommended to President Marcos.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) released video clips that showed a white ship repeatedly blasting another vessel sailing alongside it with a water cannon. One clip showed two white ships simultaneously firing water at the same vessel.

It also released another clip showing a white ship marked “China Coast Guard” crossing the bow of a grey vessel it identified as the Philippine supply boat Unaizah May 4.

It said the videos were taken yesterday morning while the Unaizah May 4 (UM4) was on its way to Ayungin Shoal. The AFP said UM4 was able to complete the rotation and resupply (RORE) mission with the help of the BRP Cabra of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

“The UM4 supply boat sustained heavy damages at around 08:52 due to the continued blasting of water cannons from the CCG vessels,” the AFP said in a statement, without describing the nature of the damage or whether there were any casualties.

It was the second time this month the UM4 had been damaged during an attempt to resupply the outpost. In the March 5 RORE mission, a military general and four other passengers of UM4 were slightly injured in the water cannon attack, which also shattered the boat’s windshield.

Periodic updates released by the military said the UM4 left the Naval Detachment Oyster Bay in Puerto Princesa City on Friday and encountered a CCG vessel, which crossed its bow, at 6:08 a.m.

An hour later at 7:09 a.m. as the supply boat was approaching Ayungin Shoal, the Chinese vessel performed what the AFP