On Monday, the Philippine Coast Guard released a video that depicted a Filipino diver successfully dismantling what had previously been described as a 300-meter (984-feet) long chain of buoys near Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Scarborough Shoal. This strategically vital reef serves as a rich fishing ground and is situated 130 miles (200 kilometers) west of the Philippine island of Luzon.
The video footage captures the diver, equipped with a basic mask and snorkel, descending beneath the ocean’s surface to employ a small knife in severing the ropes of the barrier. The diver carried out this operation from a somewhat rickety fishing vessel with a small crew.
This visual account underscores the longstanding power struggle unfolding in the South China Sea, as Manila endeavors to counter the increasingly assertive territorial claims made by Beijing within this disputed and strategically significant maritime expanse.
Officials from the Philippines had asserted on Sunday that three Chinese Coast Guard vessels, accompanied by a Chinese maritime militia service vessel, had deployed the barrier in response to the presence of a Philippine government vessel in the area.
The Philippine Coast Guard, in a statement issued on Monday, contended that the barrier posed a navigational hazard and constituted a clear violation of international law. Furthermore, they emphasized that it encroached upon Philippine sovereignty, further intensifying the ongoing tensions in the region.