Wednesday, March 12, 2014



Editor's note: See our previous post of the  SANTA MARIA

EDITOR'S NOTE: We originally identified the old ship in this post as the "SANTA MARIA based on a press report as we have now had an opportunity to review multiple sources on this story we believe that the ship's name is SIERRA MADRE. We have adjusted the text in other stories but must leave the erroneous name up in this one due to links that can't be reworked.

The Philippine Flag still Flies Above the SANTA MARIA and Thus Above Second Thomas Shoal (Ayungin Reef). The Reef is well within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone, Far Outside any Legitimate Claim Area Related To China. The Santa Maria and Her Marines Have Been There Since 1999.  
 The Santa Maria is rusting away but the Philippine Marines stay. So much for China's cabbage patch strategy. Did they think Philippine Marines would yield to a cabbage patch? 

On March 12, 2014 the Philippines air dropped food and water to marines stationed on the grounded transport ship SANTA MARIA on disputed Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal. Earlier China  blocked two Filipino supply ships from reaching the troops. Chinese Coast Guard ships patrolling waters around the shoal Shoal, known in China as the Ren'ai reef, on Sunday ordered the Philippine boats carrying construction materials to leave the area. Beijing outrageously claims that Manila has plans to build permanent structures on the Shoaling reef top, a place most unsuitable for construction , but also not Chinese territory. There may be other claimants to the reef who may have it within 200 miles of their territory. The reef is closest to the Philippines by most angles of measure and well within the Philippine exclusive economic zone. The Philippines also base their claim on geological information that they maintain illustrates that the reef is part of the "continental shelf" of the Philippine main islands. Regardless, the Philippines and her neighbors have not come to blows over the issue but China with no claim at all has dispatched their Coast Guard to "administer the area" which they claim, with no legal basis what so ever. The Dragon ran into a major issue however when their Coast Guard arrived, the Philippine marines aboard the Santa Maria. The grounded and rusting SANTA MARIA is still a commissioned Philippine Naval Ship, the Philippine flag still flies above the ship and the reef and the armed, if rather undernourished, marines are on board and will not give up the ship. Those facts plus the fact that the reef is far from any recognized Chinese undisputed territory  make China an invader. 
 The Santa Maria as seen by the Philippine Navy recently.  Not much of a target for an air drop resupply but they did it. 

The marines have long survived on fish that they catch and fresh water from jury rigged tarpoline and bucket catch basins for rain water. Occasionally small craft have been successful in reaching the SANTA  MARIA with supplemental supplies. Unfortunately time and salt water have taken a toll on her steel structures and the ship is just about unlivable. The construction materials were for shoring up the SANTA MARIA and improving living conditions For the embarked marines. The food and water air drop will probably only last a few days. The marines are in need of the type of resupply that can only be accomplished by boat. The Chinese Coast Guard has never fired upon or assaulted the Santa Maria because to do so is an act of war against the Philippines and the United States has a defense treaty with the Philippines. But the Chinese Coast Guard has cut off the SANTA MARIA from resupply, that considered alone is an act of war , if the Philippines care to so complain of it as such.  On Tuesday, the Philippine Government called in the second highest Chinese embassy official to deliver a strongly-worded protest, calling the blockade "a clear and urgent threat to the rights and interests of the Philippines". Frankly, we here at the AAB see it as a blatant act of territorial aggressive war.

Beijing's claim over the Spratlys, a group of 250 uninhabitable islets spread over 165,000 square miles, has set it directly against US defense treaty partner the Philippines.  In addition to China; Vietnam Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan also lay claim to parts of the South China Sea. Some of the claims of Vietnam, Brunei, and Malaysia may have legal standing that requires the development of geological information to resolve with  each other, and the Philippines. Under the provisions of UNCLOS (The United Nations Law of the Sea  Convention) a few of the islands , reefs and shoals in terms of distance from the established base lines could be located in any of two or more nations based solely on distance off. The convention calls for good faith negotiations or binding arbitration in such cases. Unfortunately the nations of the region can't accomplish anything among themselves due to the constant land grab attempts by China. Taiwan could conceivably have a claim on some of the northern most areas but is their claim as Taiwan or as the Chinese territory of Taiwan?  China makes some of these claims , particularly against Japan's southern most islands in the name of the "Chinese Province of Taiwan". The South China Sea is a rich fishing ground. The sea provides 10 percent of the global fish catch. Commercial fishing is playing a big part in China's land grab. Oil however is the major reason why China demands all of the South and East China Seas as a virtual Chinese lake. The seabed around all of the islands disputed with so many of China's neighbors is believed rich in oil reserves that China desperately needs. But by insisting on illegally taking it all China has delayed oil development by as many years as it has been acting like a thug. More over the China Seas carry $5 trillion in ship borne trade a year, much of it bound for the United States which is not about to accept an entire international sea as a private lake. Neither will most of the shipping world, especially the English speaking nations which have upheld the concept of freedom of navigation at great costs in blood and treasure for centuries.

 The SANTA MARIA is becoming a potential Philippine Alamo. The Dragon needs to study Texas history. The Mexican army with over whelming strength over took and wiped out the Alamo much as the Chinese could easily take the SANTA MARIA. But the Alamo was the start of the defeat of Mexico and the independence of the Republic of Texas. "Remember the Alamo !" became a rallying cry for Texas forces that eventually caught the Mexican army at San Jacinto  where Texas liberty was demanded at the point of a sword. Mexico didn't learn the lesson the first time around and a few years later was handed another defeat by the Republic of Texas. The Republic of Texas then requested admittance as a state in the American Union and the lone star flag of San Jacinto still flies over the state. The dragon's reptile brain simply doesn't seem capable of understanding that the Philippine people are as fiercely independent as the Texans and while willing to negotiate or arbitrate with neighbors will not give up an inch of territory to an invader with no legal basis for a claim. If China doesn't get the hell out of Ayungin this is where the naval war of the China seas will start. It will end with the Chinese Communists hanging from lamp posts at the hands of the Chinese people. Within days of starting the war China's economy will collapse and their lies will be exposed to the people who will know exactly who to blame for their economic misery. There will be no invading army to save the communists from the people or for the Communists to rally the people against. They will expose themselves for the fools that they are with first shot at a Philippine flag.

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