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Philippines extricates warship from South China Sea shoal

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine navy has successfully extricated one of its largest warships which ran aground in a shoal near a hotly disputed region in the South China Sea.

Two Philippine security officials told The Associated Press Tuesday that tugboats were used to pull the BRP Gregorio del Pilar from the shallow fringes of Half Moon Shoal, which the Philippines calls Hasa Hasa, before midnight.

The frigate, which was being towed back to a Philippine port, ran aground during a routine patrol Wednesday night, damaging some of its propellers. It’s more than 100 crewmen were unhurt.

The barren shoal is on the eastern edge of the disputed Spratly archipelago, where tensions have run high in recent years after China transformed seven disputed reefs into islands and reportedly installed missile defense systems.