Follow CGSP on Social Media

Listen to the CGSP Podcast

Marooned Filipino Ship Becomes Center of South China Sea Flashpoint

File image of the the grounded Philippine navy ship BRP Sierra Madre where marines are stationed to assert Manila's territorial claims at Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands in the disputed South China Sea. Ted ALJIBE / AFP

The deterioration of an aging Filipino ship grounded in the South China Sea is becoming the center of an already concerning global flashpoint between China, the Philippines, and the U.S.

No one knows just how fast the BRP Sierra Madre is falling apart. The Philippines purposefully marooned the World War II-era navy vessel at Second Thomas Shoal in 1999 as a territorial marker amid perceived Chinese encroachment in the area.

  • Get a daily email packed with the latest China-Africa news and analysis.
  • Read exclusive insights on the key trends shaping China-Africa relations.
  • Full access to the News Feed that provides daily updates on Chinese engagement in Africa and throughout the Global South.

China, Africa and the Global South... find out what’s happening.

Subscribe today for unlimited access.

What is The China-Global South Project?


The China-Global South Project is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Global South stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalists and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Global South discourse.


A unique professional network of China-Africa scholars, analysts, journalists and other practioners from around the world.