The Tizard Bank, a large reef in the Spratly
by Wolfgang Schippke, DC3MF
The Tizard Bank is a large reef area in the northern part of the Spratly Island Group. It lies between 10N19 and 10N25, as between 114E12 and 114E45. The bank rises from the deep sea, 700 to 500 meters deep, to a drying reef. There are several islands along the bank.
In the nortwester part lies the Itu Aba Group a group of three sandy islands, all claimbed and hold by Taiwan, since 1955. In the southern part lies Namyit Island claimbed and hold by Vietnam. Petley and Eldat, both flat coral platforms, about 1 to 3 ft high, are in the claimbed area of the Philippines. In the western most end of the Tizard Bank lies the West and the South West Reef, also two small coral platforms, flooted during havey sea.
The Tizard Bank is about 70 km from southwest to north east and about 20 km wide. The central lagoon is between 10 and 40 meter deep and there are several save entrances into the reef.
The islands, claimbed and hold by three nations are visited frequently by fisherman from Hai-nan Tao, usually during December till the start of the monsoon.
The Tizard Bank 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 several islets 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. During WW II the Japanese Kuamitang Armee claimbed the complete reef and in 1947 after the Japans left the islands, The Philippines claimbed the Tizard Bank.
Between 1950 and 1960 the islands were annexed by Taiwan (1955, Itu Aba) and in 1959 by Vietnam (Namyit Island).