PUBLISHED: JANUARY 30, 2023, AMTI
China’s coast guard presence in the South China Sea is more robust than ever. An analysis of automatic identification system (AIS) data from commercial provider MarineTraffic shows that the China Coast Guard (CCG) maintained near-daily patrols at key features across the South China Sea in 2022. Together with the ubiquitous presence of its maritime militia, China’s constant coast guard patrols show Beijing’s determination to assert control over the vast maritime zone within its claimed nine-dash line.
China Coast Guard Patrols in the South China Sea
AMTI analyzed AIS data from the year 2022 across the five features most frequented by Chinese patrols: Second Thomas Shoal, Luconia Shoals, Scarborough Shoal, Vanguard Bank, and Thitu Island. Comparison with data from 2020 shows that the number of calendar days that a CCG vessel patrolled near these features increased across the board.
The number of days the CCG patrolled at Vanguard Bank, a major site of Vietnamese oil and gas development that has seen standoffs between Chinese and Vietnamese law enforcement in years past, more than doubled, increasing from 142 days in 2020 to 310 days in 2022. Days patrolled at Second Thomas Shoal, where the Philippines maintains a precarious garrison aboard the BRP Sierra Madre, increased from 232 days to 279; those at Luconia Shoals, near important Malaysian oil and gas operations, from 279 to 316; and at Scarborough Shoal, traditionally fished and administered by the Philippines, from 287 to 344. Data on the reefs surrounding Philippine-held Thitu Island was not collected in previous analyses, but CCG vessels were on site 208 days over the past year. At some features, especially Scarborough Shoal, multiple CCG vessels were present simultaneously. Observed patrols across all five features amounted to 1,703 ship-days in total.Tiếp tục đọc “Flooding the zone: China Coast Guard patrols in 2022”