PUBLISHED: JUNE 13, 2018 ASIA MARITIME TRANSPARENCY INITIATIVE
Vietnam continues modest expansions to its outposts in the Spratly Islands, most recently on Ladd Reef. Satellite imagery from March and June shows that Hanoi has dredged a new channel, which did not exist in older photos, and is expanding one of its two facilities (the other is a small lighthouse to the west) at the feature.
An image from March 18 reveals a channel recently dredged through the southern edge of the reef, with a barge and two large (roughly 160-foot) vessels just north of the mouth of this new entrance into the lagoon. At least 21 smaller ships, all of which appear to be Vietnamese fishing boats, are present inside the lagoon.