Philip­pines buys 100 pa­trol boats to com­bat poach­ers in na­tional ter­ri­tory

The China Post - - LOCAL -

The Philip­pines is buy­ing nearly 100 new pa­trol boats to pro­tect its fish­eries, an of­fi­cial said Mon­day, in a sub­stan­tial ex­pan­sion from its cur­rent fleet of 20 as it re­sponds to poach­ing by Chi­nese and Tai­wanese ves­sels.

Most of the or­dered ves­sels — 71 short-range boats for coastal pa­trols and 27 able to go fur­ther out to sea — will be de­liv­ered this year, Bureau of Fish­eries and Aquatic Re­sources chief Asis Perez said.

“This is just ful­fill­ing our man­date. Our coun­try has eight times more sea area than land area. We have 36,000 kilo­me­ters (22,370 miles) of coast­line and over 7,100 is­lands,” he told AFP.

Perez said the “law-en­force­ment” boats would aug­ment the agency’s 20 pa­trol boats which pro­tect the fish­eries re­sources of one of the world’s largest archipela­goes.

“We need ad­di­tional ves­sels. These (new boats) are ac­tu­ally short of our needs but this is all we can af­ford,” he added.

Perez said his agency is also seek­ing fund­ing to ac­quire 10 larger boats that can pa­trol the high seas.

Nu­mer­ous Chi­nese fish­er­men have been ar­rested by Philip­pine author­i­ties for al­legedly poach­ing in dis­puted wa­ters.

Sim­i­lar in­ci­dents in­volv­ing Tai- wan have also oc­curred, the latest in May off the north­ern Batan is­lands when the Philip­pine Coast Guard at­tempted to ar­rest a Tai­wan fish­ing boat only to be blocked by the Tai­wan Coast Guard.

The Philip­pines has re­cently been seek­ing to boost its poorly equipped mil­i­tary by ac­quir­ing new weapons, and deep­en­ing de­fense ties with al­lies like the United States and Ja­pan.

The moves come af­ter a se­ries of con­fronta­tions at sea be­tween the Philip­pines and both China and Tai­wan.

Ten­sions have been

ris­ing

in re­cent years due to China’s more mus­cu­lar ap­proach to en­forc­ing its claim to most of the South China Sea, even up to the coasts of its neigh­bors in­clud­ing the Philip­pines.

Chi­nese ships have oc­cu­pied a reef near the western Philip­pines since 2012 fol­low­ing a tense stand­off with Philip­pine ships.

Con­fronta­tions be­tween Philip­pine and Tai­wan Coast Guard ships in their com­mon mar­itime bor­der have also risen re­cently fol­low­ing the 2013 fa­tal shoot­ing of a Tai­wanese fish­er­man by Filipino pa­trols there.

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