By Shirley Escalante
Eleven Vietnamese fishermen have been arrested after they were caught poaching in the South China Sea
Philippine authorities have arrested 11 Vietnamese fishermen found poaching in the nation's waters, close to disputed territories in the South China sea.
Environment officials say the Vietnamese fishermen were found with 50 dead sharks aboard their boat near the province of Palawan.
Among the Vietnamese fishermen's catch were great white, bull and hammerhead sharks.
The fishermen will be charged with violation of the Philippines Wildlife Act and Fisheries Law.
The arrest happened as the Philippines filed before an international court, arguments on its case against China over islets and reefs in the South China Sea.
Officials took their territorial disputes with China to international arbitration in January last year after Chinese government ships took control of a disputed shoal off the northwestern Philippines.
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario says the documents submitted to the tribunal in The Hague consist of nearly 4,000 pages explaining the merits of the country's case.
He told a news conference on Sunday that Manila does not expect the tribunal to reach a decision before the end of 2015.
The Philippines and Vietnam are claimants to disputed areas in the South China Sea, along with Brunei, China, Malaysia and Taiwan.
Chinese ships evadedOn Saturday, a Philippine government vessel narrowly evaded two Chinese coastguard ships attempting to block its path to deliver food, water and fresh troops to a military outpost on a shoal.
China, which claims 90 per cent of the South China Sea, says the shoal is part of its territory.
The cat-and-mouse encounter was witnessed by journalists invited onboard the Philippine ship.
It offered a rare glimpse into the tensions playing out routinely in waters that are one of the region's biggest flashpoints.
The incident is also a reminder of how assertive China has become in pressing its claims to disputed territory far from its mainland.