`The littoral combat ship (LCS) USS Gabrielle Giffords on May 12 was present near the Panamanian drilling ship West Capella in the southern East Sea. This is the second time the LCS ship has patrolled this area since the USS Montgomery

Rear Admiral Fred Kacher, commander of the US Navy’s 7th Expeditionary Strike Group, affirmed that the presence of the warship Gabrielle Giffords near the drill ship West Capella shows Washington’s capabilities in the region.

USS Gabrielle Giffords moves near the drillship West Capella on May 12.

Vice Admiral Bill Merz, commander of the 7th Fleet, affirmed that the US Navy will operate in all areas of the East Sea that international law allows.

The West Capella drillship operated by Malaysian state oil company Petronas left the exploration area yesterday.

The Haiyang Dizhi 8 Geological Survey ship and a number of Chinese coast guard and fishing vessels were previously present in an area about 371 km from Malaysia’s Borneo island, according to data from the ship tracking website Marine Traffic.

The US Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) said Chinese ships frequently harassed the West Capella during this period.

On April 21, the amphibious assault ship USS America and the US cruiser USS Bunker Hill moved near the West Capella’s area of operations.

Geological Ocean 8 reappeared in the East Sea in the context of countries trying to prevent Covid-19.

In July 2019, the Haiyang Dizhi 8 geological survey ship and its escort ships violated Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf in the south of the East Sea, then left for Vietnam.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said on April 14 that Vietnam closely monitors the situation in the East Sea.