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Spratly Islands & Second Thomas Shoal

Spratly Islands


Tensions have escalated in the South China Sea following an incident where Chinese vessels sought to obstruct a Philippine mission aimed at resupplying their troops stationed on a disputed reef.


A recent incident in the area, where the Philippines claims that China Coast Guard ships caused two collisions with their boats and water cannoned one of them, has renewed global interest in the flashpoint. The Philippine vessels were part of a routine mission to deliver provisions to troops stationed on the grounded navy vessel BRP Sierra Madre at Second Thomas Shoal.

About Spratly Islands

  • The Spratly Islands are a disputed archipelago in the South China Sea.
  • Composed of islands, islets, cays and more than 100 reefs, the archipelago lies off the coasts of the Philippines, Malaysia and southern Vietnam.
  • The islands are largely uninhabited, but offer rich fishing grounds and may contain significant oil and natural gas reserves.
  • China, the Philippines, Taiwan (ROC) and Vietnam claim the whole Spratly Islands while Brunei and Malaysia claim part of the Islands.
  • China claims sovereignty over most of the South China Sea based on the historical and controversial Nine-dash line.
  • In 2013, the Philippines had filed a case against China with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, challenging the legality of China’s claims and activities in the South China Sea.
  • The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, Netherlands, ruled that China’s claims of historical rights over South China Sea (SCS) has no legal basis.

About Second Thomas shoal

  • Second Thomas Shoal is a submerged reef in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea.
  • It is a disputed territory and claimed by several nations. The reef is occupied by Philippine Navy personnel aboard ship, the BRP Sierra Madre, that was intentionally grounded on the reef in 1999 and has been periodically replenished since then.

Read Also: Functions Of Coral Reefs in The Ocean

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