Second Thomas Shoal: Chinese and Philippine coastguard ships filmed colliding in South China Sea

Watch the moment that coastguard vessels belonging to China and the Philippines collide in the South China Sea (Credit: Philippine Coast Guard)

Chinese and Philippine coastguard vessels have been filmed colliding into each other in a disputed section of the South China Sea.

Footage released by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) showed its BRP Sindangan vessel making contact with a Chinese coastguard patrol boat on Tuesday.

The BRP Sindangan suffered minor structural damage, the PCG said, before a separate collision between Chinese and Filipino boats took place a short while later.

That same vessel was later targeted by Chinese water cannons, shattering its windshields and injuring at least four Filipino crew members, according to the Philippine government taskforce dealing with territorial disputes.

A Chinese coastguard vessel pictured alongside a Philippine equivalent in the South China Sea in November 2023. Credit: AP

The incidents took place off the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, which both the Philippines and China lay claim to.

China's deputy ambassador was summoned, in the wake of the incidents, by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs to convey a protest against the Chinese coastguard's actions.

"The Philippines demands that Chinese vessels leave the vicinity of Ayungin shoal [Filipino name for the shoal] immediately," the department said in a statement.

A small Philippine marine and navy contingent has kept watch onboard a rusting Second World War ship, the BRP Sierra Madre, which has been marooned since the late 1990s in the shallows of the Second Thomas Shoal.

The Sierra Madre (pictured) is a dilapidated Second World War ship. Credit: ITV News

China has long contested the Philippines' territorial claim, surrounding the shoal with coastguard and naval vessels to prevent Philippine forces from delivering construction materials to fortify the Sierra Madre.

China's coastguard said in a statement that "it took control measures in accordance with the law against Philippine ships that illegally intruded into the waters adjacent to Ren'ai Reef [Chinese name for the shoal]".

ITV News has previously been given inside access to the PCG's efforts in the Second Thomas Shoal, witnessing how Chinese vessels prevented a re-fueling attempt of the Sierra Madre last November.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...