The Philippines on Tuesday said it had conducted “a special operation” to remove a 300-meter floating barrier installed by China in a flash point area of the contested South China Sea, just 230 kilometers (140 miles) from the Philippine coast.

The incident — which prevented Filipino fishers from entering the shoal, where the catch can be more abundant — was the latest in a series of rows over the strategic waterway that have seen bilateral ties between the two Asian nations plummet.

Video posted to social media by a Philippine Coast Guard spokesman showed divers cutting the rope-and-buoy barrier and hauling away its anchor outside the entrance to Scarborough Shoal on Monday, after their Chinese counterparts installed the barrier over the weekend.