Scarborough Shoal

Scarborough Shoal

Scarborough Shoal or Panatag Shoal [cite web |url= |title=The ‘Spratly deal’: facts & figures |accessdate=2008-08-06 |publisher=The Philippine Star |date=March 10, 2008] (Philippine name: Panatag Shoal; Chinese name: 黃岩島 Huangyan Dao), more correctly described as a group of islands and reefs in an atoll shape than a shoal, is located between the Macclesfield Bank and Luzon, Philippines in the South China Sea, specifically Luzon Sea. As with most of the landforms in the sea, the sovereignty of the area is disputed. Some references include this shoal in their discussions about Spratly Islands, an island chain in South China Sea which is also contested by different countries. Scarborough Shoal is not part of that chain.


The shoal forms a triangle shaped chain of reefs and islands (but mostly rocks) convert|55|km|mi|0 around with an of area 150 square kilometers. It has a lagoon with area of 130 km² and depth of about convert|15|m|ft|0. Several of the islands are 1/2m to 3m high and many of the reefs are just below water at high tide. Near the mouth of the lagoon are the ruins of an iron tower, 8.3m high which was constructed in 1965 by the Philippine Navy who first raised a flag there.

The shoal is a protrusion in a 3,500m deep abyssal plain. The nearest landmass is Palauig, Zambales, on Luzon Island in the Philippines, convert|137|mi|km|0 away. It is about convert|123|mi|km|0 west of Subic Bay.

Economy & Tourism

Non-Filipino fishermen are tolerated in the area under strict guidelines set and implemented by the Philippine Navy. A number of Chinese fishermen have been arrested in this area due to illegal methods of fishing that destroy the marine habitat of the reef and catching of endangered marine species. Thick layers of guano lie on the rocks in the area. Several diving excursions (1998) and amateur radio DXpeditions (1994, 1995, 1997 and 2007) were done within Scarborough Shoal, again under the supervision of the Philippine Navy.

overeignty dispute

The Philippines, the People's Republic of China, and Republic of China (Taiwan) all claim Scarborough Shoal. As of 2008, the area is occupied by the Philippines.

The Philippine Navy has always been vigilant in the Scarborough Shoal for any suspicious or possible economic activity acted by the other claimants. The Philippines base their claim on its proximity, its being in the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone, and the principle of "terra nullius", which holds that it was previously unclaimed by a sovereign state, which is also applied by the Philippines in its claims to the Spratly Islands.

On the other hand, the Chinese and the Taiwanese bases for claims are that the shoal was first mapped in the Yuan Dynasty as early as 1279 and was historically used by Chinese fishermen.

The Chinese side states that the territorial claim by the Philippine government is new. Treaties about the territory of the Philippines and Philippine constitution in 1935 and sea territorial law in 1961 state that the westernmost line of the Philippine territory is 118 East longitude, and the shoal is situated on the western side of the line. Also maps published before 1990 did not include the shoal as the territory of the Philippines.


ee also

*Spratly Islands

ources and references

* [ VirtualInformationCenter - includes many more references]

External links

* [ of the South China Sea showing Scarborough Shoal]
* [,117.641602&spn=9.255025,20.566406&z=6 Google Map showing relative position of Scarborough Shoal with Philippines and China]
* [ Chinese marker in Panatag Shoal]
* [ Scarborough Shoal, a new Sino-Philippine conflict]

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