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China's latest incursion in Malaysia's waters
Ship-tracking data show Chinese survey/research vessel Da Yang Hao entered Malaysia's continental shelf and exclusive economic zone last night.
It's Sunday here, so this is very brief on China's latest incursion in Malaysia's continental shelf and exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Ship tracking data show Chinese survey/research vessel Da Yang Hao entered Malaysia's continental shelf and exclusive economic zone last night.
It is escorted by at least one China Coast Guard vessel, CCG 5202. As I noted in the earlier brief, CCG 6307 may involve in this operation.
On September 24, it made a brief incursion in Vietnam's continental shelf but changed its course after that. At least one Vietnam Fisheries Resources Surveillance vessel was seen shadowing Da Yang Hao. However, it stopped after the Chinese ship moved into Malaysia's continental shelf.
Here are some observations:
Da Yang Hao's current speed is 4-5 knots, and it is the speed often seen when Chinese ships conduct a survey.
After entering Malaysia's waters, Da Yang Hao headed to the West Capella drillship. As of September 26, 2:20 UTC, its position was about 50 nautical miles from West Capella.
As in Indonesia's case, Da Yang Hao deliberately avoided Brunei's continental shelf.
In last year's incursion by Haiyang Dizhi 8, China deployed 8-9 coast guard vessels. But now, Da Yang Hao's escort comprises just one or two coast guard vessels. Perhaps it feels confident this time. Is it necessary to deploy such a large fleet after meeting almost no resistance and protest in the last incursion?
Lastly, maybe I'm overinterpreting, but on September 24, Da Yang Hao was surveying in Vietnam's continental shelf after leaving Fiery Cross Reef. Then, about 12:52 UTC, it suddenly changed the course and headed to Malaysia's waters.
That day, a B-52 bomber from Guam conducted a PASSEX in the South China Sea with Royal Malaysian Air Force Hawk 208, Sukhoi Su-30MKM, and F/A-18D fighter aircraft.
Meanwhile, another China Coast Guard vessel, CCG 6305, is heading to Indonesia's continental shelf and EEZ, where Haiyang Dizhi 10 has been surveying for several weeks, with almost no resistance and protest from Jakarta too.
C-2A Greyhound plane's flight suggests USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier is operating south or southwest of Scarborough Shoal on September 26.
Da Yang Hao has a length of 98 meters and a displacement of 4,600 tons. Here is some background information about it, according to South China Morning Post:
“With a top speed of 16 knots and a range of about 14,000 nautical miles, the Da Yang Hao (Great Ocean) has the capability to conduct deep-sea resource exploration in any of the world's oceans, state media reported on Saturday.
Owned and managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources, it also represents the pinnacle of China's oceanic survey technology, the report said.
"Delivery of the vessel marks a new era for China's capability in marine resources exploration and research … and [will help to] maintain the country's interests in the international sea area."