Spratly Island, one of the largest in the group
by Wolfgang Schippke, DC3MF
The Spratly Island, located in ther western part of the Spratly Island Group is also known as Storm Island and is located on 08N38 and 111E55. It is about 750 meters long, about 500 meters wide and is triangular in shape. The island has a margin of whte sand and broken coral and is surrounded by drying ledges of coral.
In the northern part of the island stands a cairn, 7 meters high and a second one stands near the southern most end. Some huts are located on the island, like several radio towers, reported to be partly in ruines in 1987, but reported in 1994 to be inhabited by Vietnam's soldiers.
Spratly is located on a wide common underwater coral table, rising abpruptely from the deep see in the south. The mean depth is between 30 and 11 feet. There are two stony piers located on the west side, also reported in 1987 in ruines. A conspicuous wreck is located in the northern part of the reef, reported to be visible by radar of about 24 miles.
Spratly Island is konwn by Chinese monks since about the year 78 and in 134 a small monastery was built on the island. During the Dying Dynasty it was inhabited by fishers during the winter month. The first European, who reported of the island was the British Ben Daniel with the brigg HMS 'Storm' and named by the ship's name in 1621. Daniel reported the island as inhabited by Chinese fisher and some buddistic monks. Later on the British Henry Spratly visited the island and renamed it by his name, a name till known and used till today.
Spratly Island is today to be claimbed and hold by the Vietnam's Army and it is reported that on the island are several rocked bases and other military facilities. There are several warning notes, also for the distant Amboyna Cay, sayed that that any shipping across 10 miles off the both islands, will be shooted by the stationated military, without any warning.