Sea vessels around Scarborough shoal warned again of Chinese rocket debris
SAN ANTONIO, Zambales — The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) warned sea vessels around Bajo de Masinloc, locally known as Panatag or Scarborough Shoal, to watch out for floating debris from a Chinese rocket launched on Friday.
PhilSA said, in an advisory issued Saturday, April 1, that the rocket was launched at 2:27 p.m. Philippine time from Jiuquan Space Launch Center in Gobi Desert, Inner Mongolia.
Citing the Notice to Airmen issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, PhilSA said expected unburned debris discarded before the rocket entered outer space was projected to have fallen about 398 kilometers from Scarborough Shoal.
“The debris is unlikely to have dropped on land features or inhabited areas within the Philippine territory. However, discarded debris may float around the area or wash to nearby coasts,” the agency said.
The shoal is about 240 km from the coastline of Zambales.
PhilSA also cautions everyone against retrieving or coming in close contact with debris that may contain remnants of toxic substances such as rocket fuel.
They also advise the public to avoid retrieving sighted debris and immediately inform local authorities for appropriate action.
In October last year, another Chinese rocket carrying the Mengtian laboratory module for the Tiangong space station was launched from Wenchang Space Launch Center on Hainan Island.
Tiangong space station is a research facility being built by China in orbit.
Some debris suspected to have come from the Chinese rocket was found in the waters off Palawan and Occidental Mindoro.
JOANNA ROSE AGLIBOT INQ