China pulls out fishers in stormy Scarborough

Posted at 06/18/2012 1:19 PM | Updated as of 06/18/2012 1:20 PM

MANILA, Philippines - China on Monday sent out a vessel, Nanhaijiu-115,  to help pull out Chinese fishermen and their boats affected by stormy weather at the Scarborough Shoal.

In a statement, the China Rescue and Salvage of the Ministry of Transport said: “Due to the inclement weather and strong tide in the Huangyan Island waters, in order to help Chinese fishermen and fishing boats pull out safely for shelter, Nanhaijiu-115 vessel has set out to the area to provide necessary assistance.”

On Saturday, the Philippine government already gave orders to pull out the vessels of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources because of typhoon Butchoy.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) upgraded to a typhoon status Butchoy before noon Saturday. It warned of heavy rains and strong winds, especially in the western region.

Scarborough, or Panatag Shoal, is found off Masinloc, Zambales. The Philippines has been on a standoff with China in the area, which is rich in resources, ever since April 10.

Butchoy is expected to leave the country later tonight.

In an interview with radio dzRB on Sunday, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government will have to re-evaluate its options whether or not ships will be deployed back to the Scarborough Shoal once the coast clears.

She did not comment if the deployment will be based on consequent decisions from China. "If the weather improves, there will be a reevaluation, but that’s it."