Itu Aba Island, a Taiwan claimbed Spratly Island
one of the Tizard Bank Islands
by Wolfgang Schippke, DC3MF
Itu Aba Island, located 10N23, 114E22, is one of the northern Spratly Islands and since 1955 claimbed and hold by Taiwan. Itu Aba lies in the northwestern part of the Tizard Bank , a large corall reef with several islands on it, like Namyit Island, hold by Vietnam, and the Discovery Islets, also hold by Taiwan.
Itu Aba is a sandy cay, rising to 2.4 meters near its centre. The island is overbuilt by several buildings, used by the Taiwan's Military and several radio masts. A 25 meter high tower stands near the eastern end of the island, a peace monument in the centre of the island. The island is about 1400 meters from northeast to southwest and about 600 meters wide. It is completely surrounded by a drying reef.and holding ground for small vessels will be found ony on the south side.
The island of Itu Aba is well vegetated by bushes, garss and trees. Several wreks are located in the vicinity of the island. A US gun-boat lies on the southeast side of the fronting reef, run on ground in 1962. A second wreck lies about 1 miles south on a drying reef, visible about 5 miles in clear weather. Another wreck lies north of the eastern end of Itu Aba and is visible about 10 miles in clear weather. A second observation tower is shown in the sea map on the northeastern end of the island, and it is reported to be 80 ft in hight. A large pier is on the southwest side, about 150 meter wide, but only available by small boats.
Itu Aba is sayed to be known and settled by fishermen since the mid of the 8th century. The geographer Lyn Chang Lo of the Ming Daynasty is sayed to be the first mapper of the island in the 9th century. The first European who visited seams to be Antonio de Manchene in the mid of the 16th century. Shure is the discovery by the British Henry Spratley in 1767 who named the complete reef area by his ship's name 'Tizard', a name known till today.
In 1944 the Japanese Kuamitang Armee occupated all islands on the Tizard Bank and built up a submarine base on Itu Aba Island, and a radio base on the southern Namyit Island. After WW II The Philippines claimbed official in 1947 the complete Reef, but in 1955 Taiwan built up a military garison with about 400 soldiers on Itu Aba and later on Vietnam a base on Namyit Island . In 1974 the Philippines protested in the UNO about the claimb of Taiwan and Vietnam, but without success.
The western part of the Tizard Bank consists of the westernmost Itu Aba Island, the central Centre Cay (10N24, 114E24) and the easternmost Sandy Cay (10N23, 114E28). Centre Cay is a smal coral plateau, 3 to 5 ft high and only covered by low bushes. Sandy Cay is some larger, and well covered by bushes and trees. A group of ruined houses stands on this island.