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Union Banks is a large drowned atoll in the center of Dangerous Ground in the Spratly Islands in South China Sea, 230 kilometres (120 nautical miles)[1] west of the Philippine coast, containing islands and reefs whose ownership remains disputed and controversial.[2] The closest atoll is Tizard Bank, 25 kilometres (13 nautical miles) due north of Union Banks. There are only two natural islands on the rim of the reef, Sin Cowe Island and Sin Cowe East Island.

The atoll is 55 kilometres (34 miles) long from Johnson South Reef in the southwest to Whitson Reef in the northeast, and up to 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) wide. Its total area measures 461 square kilometres (178 square miles). The central lagoon is up to 53 metres (174 feet) deep.[3]

Islands and reefs comprising Union Banks

Union Banks consists of the following islands and reefs, clockwise starting in the southwest corner:[4][5]

Key: yellow = occupied by PRC; violet = occupied by Vietnam

Feature Location
Johnson South Reef (Chigua Jiao) 09°43′9″N 114°16′57″E / 9.71917°N 114.28250°E / 9.71917; 114.28250
Collins Reef (Đá Cô Lin) 09°46′14″N 114°15′27″E / 9.77056°N 114.25750°E / 9.77056; 114.25750
Gent Reef 09°51′13″N 114°16′47″E / 9.85361°N 114.27972°E / 9.85361; 114.27972*
Đá Tam Trung 09°52′6″N 114°17′3″E / 9.86833°N 114.28417°E / 9.86833; 114.28417
Loveless Reef 09°52′45″N 114°18′21″E / 9.87917°N 114.30583°E / 9.87917; 114.30583
Sin Cowe Island (Sinh Tồn) 09°53′9″N 114°19′46″E / 9.88583°N 114.32944°E / 9.88583; 114.32944
Edmund Reef 09°53′48″N 114°23′40″E / 9.89667°N 114.39444°E / 9.89667; 114.39444*
McKennan Reef 09°54′12″N 114°27′56″E / 9.90333°N 114.46556°E / 9.90333; 114.46556
Hughes Reef (Dōngmén jiāo) 09°54′51″N 114°29′45″E / 9.91417°N 114.49583°E / 9.91417; 114.49583
Hallett Reef 09°55′55″N 114°31′25″E / 9.93194°N 114.52361°E / 9.93194; 114.52361*
Holiday Reef 09°57′55″N 114°33′53″E / 9.96528°N 114.56472°E / 9.96528; 114.56472
Empire Reef 09°58′44″N 114°35′23″E / 9.97889°N 114.58972°E / 9.97889; 114.58972*
Whitson Reef 10°00′10″N 114°39′58″E / 10.00278°N 114.66611°E / 10.00278; 114.66611
Ross Reef 09°54′25″N 114°35′52″E / 9.90694°N 114.59778°E / 9.90694; 114.59778
Sin Cowe East (Sinh Tồn Đông) 09°54′8.2″N 114°33′50.7″E / 9.902278°N 114.564083°E / 9.902278; 114.564083
Bamford Reef (Đá Vị Khê) 09°53′25″N 114°32′7″E / 9.89028°N 114.53528°E / 9.89028; 114.53528
Tetley Reef 09°52′5″N 114°30′39″E / 9.86806°N 114.51083°E / 9.86806; 114.51083
Grierson Reef 09°51′5″N 114°29′29″E / 9.85139°N 114.49139°E / 9.85139; 114.49139
Jones Reef 09°49′47″N 114°27′57″E / 9.82972°N 114.46583°E / 9.82972; 114.46583
Higgins Reef 09°48′49″N 114°24′12″E / 9.81361°N 114.40333°E / 9.81361; 114.40333
Lansdowne Reef (Đá Len Đao) 09°46′43″N 114°22′14″E / 9.77861°N 114.37056°E / 9.77861; 114.37056

See also

References

  1. ^ "China expanding presence on Mabini reef". ABS CBN News / Kyodo News. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Dato Mohammad, Brigadier General (1991). The Conflicting Claims in the South China Sea. PA, USA: U.S. Army War College. 
  3. ^ Atoll Area, Depth and Rainfall, rock.geosociety.org
  4. ^ China Sea Pilot - Volume II - NP 31. Taunton: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office. 2012. 
  5. ^ "Digital Gazetteer of Spratly Islands". www.southchinasea.org. Archived from the original on 2007-07-17. Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
    - Version dated 19 August 2011 is available at: "Digital Gazetteer of Spratly Islands". www.southchinasea.org. 19 August 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2014. This list includes the names of all Spratly features known to be occupied and/or above water at low tide.