Manila: Philippines has reported a recent incident of "close distance manoeuvring" by a Chinese vessel in the disputed South China Sea.

This comes as China continues to claim most of the South China Sea, which is also contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Sunday said the incident took place on March 2 during Philippine maritime patrol operations around the Scarborough Shoal, locally known as Bajo de Masinloc.

"Coast Guard personnel have monitored a China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel with bow number 3305 that conducted a close distance manoeuvring of approximately 21 yards towards BRP Malabrigo (MRRV-4402) while the said PCG vessel was sailing at the vicinity waters off Bajo de Masinloc," the PCG said in a press release.

"This constrained the manoeuvring space of BRP Malabrigo (MRRV-4402) -- a clear violation of the 1972 International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS)," it added.

PCG Commandant, CG Admiral Artemio M Abu, the said occurrence was the fourth reported close distance manoeuvring incident involving Chinese vessels in Bajo de Masinloc.

Last May, a PCG-manned vessel, reported the first incident of close distance manoeuvring involving a CCG vessel.

The second and third incidents involved two CCG vessels that conducted close distance manoeuvring with BRP Capones and BRP Sindangan (MRRV-4407) during the PCG's maritime capability enhancement exercises in Bajo de Masinloc in June last year.

"The behaviour of the involved CCG vessels increased the risk of collision with four of our capital ships. Hence, we immediately coordinated with the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to address this issue through rules-based and peaceful approaches," the Coast Guard Commandant said.

CG Admiral Abu said that the Philippines is fully aware of dangerous situations at sea, but these will not stop the country's deployment of assets and personnel in the country's exclusive economic zones (EEZ).