Alleged Chinese ship off Subic a yacht: defense chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 12 2019 12:47 PM

MANILA - The alleged Chinese vessel that docked in a Subic resort Sunday was a businessman's yacht, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Monday.

Citing verification by Philippine law enforcement, Lorenzana said the yacht, registered in Subic as Balena II, used to be the Japanese research and survey vessel Tankai Maru.

"It has been bought and converted into a motor yacht. It caters to tourists that are already in Subic," he said in a statement.

According to Lorenzana, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Chairperson Wilma Eisma said the police and the Philippine Coast Guard will coordinate for "better monitoring of these cruise ships/recreational marine vessels."

The report comes after 2 Chinese survey ships were seen operating in the Philippines' exclusive economic zone last week.

Authorities have also questioned the unannounced passage of Chinese warships in the country's waters.

Lorenzana had urged government to ask Beijing why Chinese research vessels and warships are entering Philippine waters.

He said he agrees with US Defense Secretary Mark Esper's recent remark that China is destabilizing the Indo-Pacific because Beijing "reclaimed shoals or reefs and made them into artificial islands... and landed military aircraft and put in defensive weapons."