Ready to help

He said, however, that the military was prepared to provide assistance to the stricken Chinese vessel.

"Any ship or naval vessel in distress, we are duty-bound to provide assistance, regardless of whether or not they intruded into our territorial waters," Estrella said.

Earlier reports said the mainstay equipment at Wescom are the BRP Laguna and an Islander reconnaissance aircraft of the Philippine Air Force.

The reports said all of the other equipment of the Naval Forces West have been deployed to the Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) area prior to Friday's incident at Hasa-Hasa Shoal.

China's defense ministry on Friday acknowledged that one of its frigates had run aground while conducting patrols in the disputed part of West Philippine Sea.

In Manila, the Chinese Embassy issued a statement saying the frigate ran aground around 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

"Currently the rescue work by the Chinese Navy is under way," the embassy said.

The embassy said no injuries were reported.

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