This image shows VIIRS boat detections (VBD) from last night in the South China Sea.  The Spratly Island disputed waters are shown in yellow.   Portions of the zone are claimed by Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan, China, Malaysia and Brunei.  In recent years China expanded several of the islands and added airports and military bases to bolster their territorial claim.  This includes Mischief Reef, Subi Reef, and  Fiery Cross Reef.  The third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III) classifies the zone as “international waters”.  In addition to serving as a major shipping lane for international commerce, these waters are heavily fished and are suspected to contain substantial oil and gas reserves.  The Earth Observation Group conducts nightly surveys of lit fishing boats across the region with low light imaging data collected by the NASA / NOAA Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS).