MANILA – Super typhoon Yolanda has sent home Chinese maritime and Navy vessels at the Ayungin Reef in Palawan, while the half a dozen Philippine Marines on board a rusting and grounded World War II-era ship are safe, a source told InterAksyon.com.
This effectively ends the standoff between the two countries some 100 nautical miles from the island of Palawan.
Ayungin is part of the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) in the West Philippine Sea (WPS). China claims the reef is part of its territory, more than a thousand nautical miles from its nearest 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“They’re safe,” said a senior officer of the Philippine Marines guarding the reef on board the shipwreck BRP Sierra Madre (Landing Ship Tank 57). The Philippine Marine official requested that he not be named because he is not authorized to give any statement regarding operational activities in the West Philippine Sea.