"…Over the past two years, China has worked to strengthen its claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea, dredging sand to turn scattered reefs and atolls into islands despite protests from neighbors and the United States.
Now, China is said to be considering plans to build Scarborough Shoal into an island, too, an effort that would be its most ambitious and provocative yet. China would gain an outpost on the eastern side of the sea, more than 530 miles from its mainland but just 140 miles from the Philippines.
That could bolster China’s claim to the sea, including oil exploration and fishing rights, and could substantially extend its radar, air and missile coverage, including over United States forces in the Philippines.…"
This fishing boat caught my eye:
Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
It looks like it's used to transport smaller boats to fishing grounds, much as the Russians used larger vessels to transport Aleut fishermen in their kayaks to hunt sea otters in the 1800s in Northern California waters.
More photos of Filipino fishing boats; outriggers a key feature, many of them elegant lightweight vessels: https://www.google.com/search?q=filipino+fishing+boat&num=100&newwindow=1&safe=off&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwirxJvI4-vNAhVI6WMKHc2tCcoQ_AUICCgB&biw=1563&bih=1040