MANILA (PNA) — The U.S. 7th Fleet, during flight operations off Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, have spotted two Chinese frigates in the area.
In a statement released by its public affairs office, the Chinese ships, one bearing the bow number “572”, was spotted by an MH-60 helicopter flying off the USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19).
The American ship was conducting routine training operations in the vicinity of Scarborough Shoal when the Chinese ships were seen.
“A Chinese People’s Liberation Army (Navy) vessel is seen from an MH-60 helicopter assigned to USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) while conducting flight operations in support of maritime security operations in the South China Sea. The aircraft is part of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron(HSC) 12, underway with the embarked U.S. 7th Fleet staff aboard Blue Ridge, building relationships and furthering interoperability with allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific,” its statement stressed.
The US 7th Fleet said that it has around 70-80 ships and submarines at its disposal along with 150 aircraft, and stated that it operates 365 days throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific.
“It’s not uncommon for Seventh Fleet to have ships and aircraft operating simultaneously in the Yellow Sea, East Sea and South China Sea. The Blue Ridge flight operations in the photos are part of our routine presence in international waters, with the goal of providing security and stability for all maritime nations,” it concluded. (PNA) JBP/PFN