Bombay Reef

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This article is about the atoll in the Paracel Islands. It is not to be confused with Bombay Shoal, where the USS Darter was wrecked, which is also in the South China Sea..
Bombay Reef
Disputed island
Other names: Chinese: 浪花礁; pinyin: Lànghuājiāo Vietnamese: đá Bông Bay
Location of Bombay Reef within the Paracel Islands
Bombay Reef is located in South China Sea
Bombay Reef
Location South China Sea
Coordinates 16°04′N 112°35′E / 16.067°N 112.583°E / 16.067; 112.583Coordinates: 16°04′N 112°35′E / 16.067°N 112.583°E / 16.067; 112.583
Archipelago Paracel Islands
Length 10 miles (16 km)[1]
Administered by
People's Republic of China
Claimed by
Republic of China (Taiwan)

Bombay Reef (Chinese: 浪花礁; pinyin: Lànghuājiāo, Vietnamese: đá Bông Bay) is an atoll of the Paracel Islands. In Chinese, the reef is alternatively known as "Pengbojiao" (Chinese: 蓬勃礁), or "Qilianyu" (literally "7 key lago") along with six other islands close by.


The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's Sailing Directions describes Bombay Reef as "the southeasternmost known danger of the Paracel Islands, a steep-to reef 10 miles long E and W that surrounds a rock-strewn lagoon."[1]

A lighthouse is located on the south-west end of the reef.[1][2] It was built by the French in 1980.[3]

Bombay reef (Paracel islands) as viewed from the International space station


In the early hours of 20 December 1946, en route from Hong Kong to Singapore for decommissioning, the HMS Aire ran aground on Bombay Reef.[4] She was spotted by chance, 3 days later, by the passing HMS Bonaventure and the 85 crew, amongst them the ship's dog, were rescued with no serious casualties.[5] As a River-class frigate, HMS Aire was sister ship to the famous superyacht Christina O.

In early May 1967 the 87-foot (27 m)[6] steel sailing schooner Dante Deo, with 6 men and a 6-year-old boy on board,[7] was wrecked on Bombay Reef.[8] The crew were rescued on 5 May 1967 by an amphibious aircraft operated by the 37th Air Rescue Squadron.[7]

Bombay Reef is the site of numerous other shipwrecks, at least one of which is visible above water and on radar from 15 miles away.[1]

Territorial claims[edit]

Lacking a native population, ownership of the Paracel Islands has been disputed since the early 20th century. In the aftermath of the First Indochina War until 1974 Vietnam occupied Pattle Island, approximately 60 nautical miles (110 km) away. Control has been enforced by the People's Republic of China since the Battle of the Paracel Islands.

Bombay reef is administered and governed by the People's Republic of China and patrolled by the Chinese border police.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Sailing Directions (Enroute) (PDF). 161 - South China Sea And The Gulf Of Thailand (Fifteenth ed.). Springfield, Virginia: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. 15 November 2014. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-57785-652-8. Archived from the original on 2004. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  2. ^ "Bombay reef light house". Marine traffic. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  3. ^ Russ Rowlett (11 March 2009). "Lighthouses of China: Paracel Islands". The Lighthouse Directory. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina. Archived from the original on 2015-10-02. Retrieved 2016-02-01. Lànghuājiāo (Bombay Reef) Lighthouse - 1980 (station established under French administration). Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); white flash every 4 s. 22m (72 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. 
  4. ^ Geoffrey B Mason (1995). "HMS Aire, frigate". SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  5. ^ Drury, Tony; Elliott, Tony (2012). "Shipwrecked in the South China Sea - The loss of HMS Aire". The Royal Navy Research Archive. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  6. ^ ill Peterson (August 1967). ""What a Way to Start a Day" (PDF). All Hands. p. 35. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-09-15. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  7. ^ a b "7 survivors of Lost Schooner Are in Vietnam". Lawrence Daily Journal-World. The World Company. 5 May 1967. p. 1. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  8. ^ Sid Shaw (2014). "The Small World of the Vast Oceans" (PDF). Flying Fish. Ocean Cruising Club. p. 192. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-02-01. Retrieved 2016-02-01. I ended up joining Dante Deo in Bali in February 1967, after working for a year in Sydney. I sailed on her throughout Indonesia, on to Singapore and as far as Bombay Reef in the Paracel Islands, south of Hainan Island, where she was shipwrecked in May 1967. 

See also[edit]