This March 22, 2021 aerial photo shows Chinese vessels still present in the Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea, well within the Philippine exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. Armed Forces of the Philippines The Chinese vessels were within the Philippine exclusive zone.
OVER 200 fishing vessels believed to be manned by Chinese maritime militia were sighted in line formation at the Julian Felipe Reef (Whitsun Reef) on March 7, 2021, the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) said.
In a statement late Saturday night, March 20, the NTF-WPS said the Philippine Coast Guard confirmed the presence of “around 220 Chinese fishing vessels, believed to be manned by Chinese maritime militia personnel.”
The Chinese vessels massed at the reef showed no actual fishing activities and had their full white lights turned on at night despite the clear weather.
“The NTF-WPS notes this circumstance as a concern due to the possible overfishing and destruction of the marine environment, as well as risks to safety of navigation,” NTF-WPS said.