Filipino fisherman Arnel Satam guns the motor of his tiny wooden boat as he makes a dash for the shallow waters of Scarborough Shoal in the disputed South China Sea, with Chinese coast guard speedboats in hot pursuit.

In a high-seas chase lasting several minutes, Satam tries in vain to outrun the faster boats in the hope of slipping inside the ring of reefs controlled by China, where fish are more abundant.

Friday's pursuit was witnessed by journalists on board the Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources ship BRP Datu Bankaw, which was delivering food, water and fuel to Filipino fishermen plying the contested waters — sometimes for weeks on end.