Discuss as:

Chinese fishermen charged with poaching after getting stuck on protected reef

Naval Forces West via Reuters

Twelve Chinese fishermen were charged with poaching offenses on Wednesday after their vessel ran aground on Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Philippines. According to the Philippines' GMA News, the fishermen could face up to 12 years in prison under Filipino law.

The USS Guardian, a U.S. Navy minesweeper, was grounded on the same reef in January.

Philippine Coast Guard via Reuters

A member of the Philippine Coast Guard, left, talks to Chinese fishermen aboard their vessel on April 9, 2013.

Ted Aljibe / AFP - Getty Images

A protester donning a snorkel and holding placards attends a rally in front of the Chinese consular office in the financial district of Manila on April 10, 2013, after a Chinese fishing vessel ran aground off Tubbataha reef, around 1,000 miles from China's nearest major landmass.

Related:

South Korean coast guard clashes with armada of Chinese fishing boats