Chinese ships at Julian Felipe Reef came from the same port as the ship that sank Gem-Ver – Think Tank
MANILA, Philippines – Chinese ships invading Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef in the western Philippine Sea operate from the same port as the vessel that sank a Filipino fishing boat two years ago, according to a group of reflection.
The Washington-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) has identified Chinese ships in the region based on photos and videos posted by the Philippine Coast Guard.
AMTI identified the first two figures and the bow numbers of the ships from a photo taken during the Coast Guard patrol on March 7.
Using the commercial AIS Marine Traffic database in cross-references, AMTI identified vessels as Yuemaobinyu 42881, 42882, 42883, 42885 and 42886.
It bears the same name as the Chinese vessel that crashed into the Gem-Ver fishing boat at Recto (Reed) Bank and left 22 Filipino fishermen floating at sea for hours before being rescued.
“In early 2019, the Yuemaobinyu 42212 – so named because it operates from the same port as these five – crashed into and sank the Philippine fishing vessel F / B Gem-Ver 1 at Reed Bank,” the AMTI report said.
This name should sound familiar in the Philippines. Yuemaobinyu 42212, originally from Dianbai like these 5, sank Gem-Ver 1 at Reed Bank 2 years ago in an incident never fully explained or compensated for by Chinese authorities.
– Greg Poling (@GregPoling) April 21, 2021
While the owner of the Chinese vessel apologized, the 22 Filipino fishermen affected by the incident have yet to receive their compensation.
In an October 2019 report, AMTI said Yuemaobinyu 42212 operates from the port of Bohe where “fishing vessels are enlisted for paramilitary exercises in preparation for maritime combat.”
Analysis by Andrew Erickson and Ryan Martinson, both from the China Maritime Studies Institute at the US Naval War College, showed that the remaining ships at Julian Felipe Reef are operating from a Chinese district with an established maritime militia.
– Andrew Erickson ??? (@AndrewSErickson) April 20, 2021
Two of the six Chinese ships seen in the reef on March 27 were identified as Yuexinhuiyu 60138 and 60139. The characters in their names indicate that they are registered in the Xinhui District of Jiangmen City in Guangdon.
According to Martinson and Erickson’s Foreign Policy Report, these two boats are both trawlers designed to drag nets at low speed and catch anything in their path.
“If 2021 is like 2019, Yuexinhuiyu 60138 and 60139 will make three or four trips to the Spratlys this year. Each will spend a total of about 280 days in these waters,” Erickson and Martinson wrote.
Analysts further noted that Xinhui District has supported the Chinese People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia (PAFMM) for at least two decades.
“Since Xinhui has only six Spratly boats, most if not all are from the Far Seas Militia Detachment. This of course includes Yuexinhuiyu 60138 and 60139,” they said.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila has been consistent with its claim that the vessels swarming from Julian Felipe Reef are just ordinary fishing vessels.
However, Erickson and Martinson noted that parts of the Chinese fleet of fishing vessels in the Spratly Islands operate under the command of the PAFMM.
“Yet these ships and their activities are only a small subset of China’s maritime gray area operations, which the United States and its allies need to track and communicate more effectively in real time to gain traction. ‘Ahead of Beijing’s relentless efforts to make gains under the radar, ”Erickson and Martinson said.