Philippines Says Chinese Fishing Barrier Removed Near Disputed Atoll

The Philippine Coast Guard said on September 25 that a “hazardous” floating barrier it said was installed by China was removed from an area of the South China Sea where it was “depriving” locals of “their fishing and livelihood activities.”

Writing on X, where a video of the operation was posted, spokesman Jay Tarriela said the “barrier posed a hazard to navigation,” was “a clear violation of international law,” and “also hinder[ed] the conduct of fishing and livelihood activities of Filipino fisherfolk in BDM, which is an integral part of the Philippine national territory.”

BDM refers to the disputed atoll of Bajo de Masinloc, known as Scarborough Shoal in English.

The coast guard said Sunday that the barrier was observed during a routine patrol on September 20, and that the subsequent removal operation was taken under presidential orders.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague ruled in 2016 in favor of the Philippines regarding the Scarborough Shoal dispute, saying China had “violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights.” China has not recognized the ruling.

The Philippine Coast Guard said it “remains committed to upholding international law, safeguarding the welfare of Filipino fisherfolk, and protecting the rights of the Philippines in its territorial waters.”

China did not directly mention the barrier in a related statement, but it said the steps taken to prevent entry into “its lagoon” were “professional and restrained.” Credit: Philippine Coast Guard via Storyful

Video transcript