2012-07-14 — (China Military News by CDM)Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) on Friday confirmed that a Chinese warship has run aground on a shoal located well within Philippine waters, about 60 nautical miles from Rizal, Palawan.
The DND said the ship that ran aground was a Jianghu Class, a Chinese guided missile frigate with bow number 560.
FFG 560 “Dongguang” is one of 053H1G class missile frigates, currently operational with the PLA South Sea Fleet, was built by the Guangzhou-based Huangpu Shipyard in the early 1990s under an emergency construction programme in response to the worsening situation in the South China Sea. These vessels are currently undergoing a modernisation refit to replace their weapon systems with newer and more advanced designs. At least two hulls (560, 563) have completed their modernisation refit in 2008.
Referred to by the NATO as the Jianghu-V class, the Type 053H1G was generally based on the hull design of the Type 053H1 (Jianghu-II Class) originally introduced in the early 1980s, but with improved weapon systems and better living conditions for its crew. The first hull Zigong (558) was launched in 1992 and commissioned in May 1993. The last hull Foshan (563) was commissioned in 1995.
The primary surface strike weapon system is the ShangYou-1 (SY-1) anti-ship missile. The ongoing modernisation refit of the Type 053H1G replaces the SY-1 missiles with eight YingJi-83 (YJ-83) anti-ship cruise missiles. Two quadruple launchers are installed at the mid-ship position. The missile uses active radar-homing to deliver a 165kg warhead to a range in excess of 180km.
“We have dispatched our own assets from the Western Command to investigate kung bakit siya andyan. Naaksidente ba? Kung kailangan nila ng tulong, tutulong tayo,” Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.[AFG_gallery id='41']
Australian paper Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Chinese warship ran aground while patrolling the contested waters adjacent to the Philippines in the hotly-contested West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
The report quoting Western Diplomatic sources added that the frigate pinned itself to a reef the other night at Half Moon (Hasa Hasa) Shoal, on the southeastern edge of the Spratlys Islands and remains “thoroughly struck”.
“Salvage operations could be diplomatically challenging, given the vessel appears to have run around within 200 kilometers of the Philippines Coast, which is squarely within what Manila claims to be its Exclusive Economic Zone,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Sources in the Armed Forces’ Western Command (Wescom) said the ill-fated Chinese warship is one of several Chinese naval gunboats that have been conducting regular patrols in the West Philippine Sea and have been aggressively harassing Filipino fishermen in the hotly-contested waters.
Another source said the sea mishap occurred several days ago without any sign that the Chinese warship being salvaged from the area.
“It’s been there since it (warship) struck the reef several days ago,” said a source, adding that the Chinese vessel is based at the Chinese’s highly-fortified Panganiban Reef (Mischief Reef).
Mischief Reef, he said, is only 76 nautical miles from Hasa Hasa Shoal.
While the sealane in Hasa-Hasa is an international passage way for commercial vessels, the source said the presence of the Chinese warship in the area only bolstered China’s creeping invasion in the South China Sea, which is also being claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunie.
“Hasa Hasa Shoal is only 60 nautical miles from Rizal, Palawan. They have no right to be there in the first place,” the source stressed.
For several months now, China has become very aggressive in laying its territorial claim over the entire South China Sea based only on historical claim.
Aside from Mischief Reef, China has also installed a powerful radar atop a four-story building they have constructed at their occupied Subi Reef, which is only 12 nautical miles from Pag-Asa Island, seat of the municipal government of Kalayaan town in Palawan province.