China goes all out with major island building project in Spratlys


China is conducting dredging operations at three reefs in the disputed Spratly islands in the South China Sea, according to data provided by IHS Maritime .

GPS tracking of a dredger using AISLive ship tracking data has confirmed Philippine claims that China has been reclaiming land at five locations since at least September 2013.

The dredging is part of major land reclamation projects undertaken by China on a number of the reefs and shoals it controls in the Spratlys. While such construction is in clear breach of a code of conduct signed by all claimants in the South China Sea territorial dispute, China has rejected any criticism of its activities by saying that the reefs are “indisputably” Chinese territory and so can be modified as Beijing sees fit.

The vessel, Tian Jing Hao , is a 127 m-long seagoing cutter suction dredger designed by German engineering company Vosta LMG. At 6,017 gross tonnes, it is credited as being the largest of its type in Asia. It has been operating on Cuarteron Reef (also known as Calderon Reef, Da Chau Vien, or Huayang Jiao); the Gaven Reefs (Nanxun Jiao and Xinan Jiao, Dá Ga Ven, and Dá Lc, Burgos); the Union Reefs (in particular at Johnson South Reef and Johnson North Reef); and at Fiery Cross Reef.


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