After reports of sewage spills, 88 foreign ships leave Philippines EEZ – report

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MANILA, Philippines – A total of 88 foreign ships, suspected of belonging to Chinese maritime militias, have left the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, according to a report by a US geospatial analysis and data company.

In his August 23 report, Simularity noted that there are 71 fewer vessels in the Union Banks, 35 fewer vessels near Pag-asa Island (Thitu) and 88 fewer vessels in the Philippines EEZ since its July 12 report. on raw sewage from ships anchored in the Spratly Islands.

“Ships are no longer anchored together in large numbers. Reduce the amount of waste dumped in one place,” Simularity reported.

Between June 20 and July 12, the number of vessels in the Philippine EEZ in the West Philippine Sea was 234. This was before the raw sewage report was released.

After the report, between Aug. 1 and Aug. 18, the number of vessels in the Philippine EEZ was 146, Simularity said.

The think tank noted that several ships had been anchored together in the Spratly Islands since 2019.

“When vessels that are anchored together throw waste, they are more concentrated in one place. Spreading the vessels helps dilute ‘excess nutrients’, which helps the coral,” the report said.

Simularity added that it was not uncommon to see more than 20 ships anchored together in the Union Banks, where Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef is located.

In March, the Philippine Coast Guard reported the presence of 220 Chinese ships near Julian Felipe Reef.

As of Aug. 11, the maximum number of ships anchored together in the Union Banks was six, according to Simularity.

Citing a July 24 report from the South China Morning Post, Simularity noted that the Sansha municipal government, which claims jurisdiction over the Spratly Islands, held a meeting following the sewage report.

Chinese agencies were called on to “fight together the battle of pollution prevention and control and to safeguard the crystal clear sea and the blue sky of Sansha.”

Last year, Beijing established the Nansha District (Spratly Islands), which falls under the jurisdiction of the self-proclaimed city of Sansha.

The Foreign Ministry rejected the decision, reiterating that the Philippine government does not recognize the city of Sansha or its constituent units.

“The Philippine government has been protesting since 2012 against China’s illegal establishment of the city of Sansha and the extent of its administrative jurisdiction, which encompasses Philippine territory and the maritime areas of the Western Philippine Sea,” said the DFA in a press release dated April 30, 2020. – Simularity satellite images via the European Space Agency


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