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The Philippines has sent ships to Half Moon Shoal in the disputed Spratly Island Group after receiving reports that a Chinese military frigate ran aground there, a navy official said.

“Our naval assets are now on the way there, we will provide assistance if needed,” Commodore Rustom Pena, Naval Forces West commander, said in a phone interview.

Pena said he was informed of the Chinese ship’s presence Friday morning. “We still don’t know how long it has been there, we can only suppose that it ran aground last night.”

Half Moon Shoal, called by the Philippines as Hasa-Hasa Shoal, is 65 nautical miles west from the island-municipality of Balabac town on Palawan province, Pena said. (John Roson)

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