Skip to main content


PRC China Marine Surveillance (CMS) vessels

In the South China Sea at present things are a little touchy as the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) having made a 'Rights' claim complete with its own boundary lines over the entire region of the South China Sea is now preparing to enforce it on a full time basis. An article in the maritime blog gCaptain set NAUTICAL LOG thinking about the situation.

The PRC paramilitary agency being used is the China Marine Surveillance (CMS) which has on duty in the South China Sea several patrol vessels.  These are painted white with CHINA MARINE SURVEILLANCE in large blue letters on the hull (see photo above) they are armed but to what extent is unclear.  By 2013 to 2016 the CMS will have 350 vessels, 16 aircraft and 15,000 personnel.  This means that every vessel transiting the South China Sea both civilian and military will be tracked by CMS.

The PRC in claiming 'Rights' to the South China Sea is actually claiming International Waters and has encroached on all the EEC National Waters of the surrounding countries.  Just this month a small convoy of Indian Naval vessels led by INS Shivalik F47 on innocent passage from the Philippines to South Korea was approached by a fully armed PLAN warship which transmitted the message "Welcome to the South China Sea Foxtrot 47".  The PLAN warship remained escorting the Indian convoy for 12 hours until released by PLAN CC-HQ.

The larger incident was about a month ago when Government of the Philippines vessels  personnel boarded Chinese fishing vessels to "inspect" them off the Scarborough Shoal, known to PRC as Huangyan Island, within their EEC.  The PRC responded with their own government vessels to counter that inspection and the situation intensified quickly.  Of course the Philippines does not really have a Navy as such and what it does have is pretty primitive by modern standards.  It consists of older vessels, rather poorly maintained, from the United States Coast Guard and in spite of having reasonably capable national shipyards they have never had a shipbuilding programme for defence purposes.

Two decades ago they expelled the United States Navy from Subic Bay, now of course they would no doubt be quite pleased to have them based there to perform the defence of the Philippines for them.  Three weeks ago the Philippines Government "blinked" and ordered all government vessels to leave the Scarborough Shoal/Huangyan Island and return to the mainland the excuse being the active typhoon season.  It is now clear that the PRC is in effective control of that area and has both the will and firepower to enforce it.

As a result of all this the national pride of the Philippines, which is large but based on little, has taken a beating being based on a concept of themselves not necessarily shared by much of the rest of the world and it is reflected in many different ways.  The national nerves are quite raw which expresses itself, for example, so that any criticism of points of view Posted in the Philippine maritime blogs is taken with great exception and instead of clearly countering with a logical alternate point of view degenerates into an attack 'Ad Hominem' as one webmaster expressed it so well.

The Philippines has absolutely no possibility of countering militarily any PRC take over of its claimed territory rightly or wrongly and can only hope to work diplomatically with the PRC to achieve a solution where it gets certain 'Rights' to work in what is now clearly PRC territory.

Good Watch


Popular posts from this blog


It sometimes happens that one is going to write a Post on a subject when lo and behold there is already an excellent one.  Such is the case today; so rather than repeat everything let me refer you to the source of that Post

At present we are experiencing Perigean Spring Tides which occur when the Moon is at perigee on its oval path that is the closest point to Earth.  One of the principal results are higher than usual Spring Tides as against the Neap Tides.

Should you be interested in the full explanation of this phenomenon then you might like to reference "Old Salt Blog" which has an excellent explanation of this event and uses all the correct terms - quite unlike our Media here in South Florida.

Good Watch.


In recent years there has been a steady decline in the professionalism, accuracy and quality of the various Media outlets and the social media.  In the rush to get there first with a story the shoddy Media - lets call it the really shoddy social media - have resorted to making up stories.  When growing up in the late 30's and 40's this was called lying and got one punished in our house.

Fake news includes inaccurate and unsupported stories all of which in the last year have been published without correction or apology.  Now it seems this attitude has spread to the maritime blogs.  One blog which was generally pretty good about its posts has slipped in accuracy lately including quoting from European tabloids.  A recent post was about H.M.S. Vengeance and its missile launches off the coast of Florida part of its programme to Certify boat and crew  The story was an ill advised, inaccurate choice in subject matter as to what happened and how the incident was reported to a Foreign N…


This month saw the commissioning into the Irish Naval Service of a new Class of Irish Naval vessel more of the Frigate size than the previously Corvette size.  However they are all classed as Patrol vessels, the new vessel is LÉ Samuel Beckett P61.NAUTICAL LOG wishes her well and a successful service.

The older vessels saw unbelievable service and value for money the first being commissioned in 1979 and continued through the '80's and 90's into the 21st. Century.  During those years in addition to patrolling the stormy seas around the rugged Irish coast they made passages across the Western Ocean to the United States and Canada, south to South America as far as Argentina, and east to Asia as far as Korea.  Such passages are really remarkable for such small vessels and show the competence of Irish seafarers who as Naval Officers and Merchant Marine Officers train together.

Good Watch.