Chinese vessels fiercely defend illegal rig

Up to 123 Chinese vessels on June 25 aggressively approached Vietnamese law enforcement ships to prevent them from getting close to rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 that is illegally standing in Vietnam’s waters, reported the Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department.

The Chinese vessels, including patrol, coast guard, cargo ships and tugboats, simultaneously harassed Vietnamese ships by basting sirens, chasing and driving them away, while staying ready to ram them at any time, said the department. 

At 7:00-7:30, a Chinese reconnaissance aircraft was also seen flying at a height of 1,500 m above the rig before leaving, according to the department. 

Meanwhile, 40 Chinese fishing vessels, supported by two coast guard ships coded 46102 and 46106, tried to stop Vietnamese fishing boats from fishing in the area near the rig, which is the traditional fishing ground of Vietnamese fishermen. 

However, despite the aggressive acts of the Chinese side, Vietnamese coast guard and fisheries surveillance ships tried to avoid collision and stayed at the site to continue performing their mission in the area, demanding China to immediately remove the rig out of Vietnam’s waters, the department stated. 

They also ensured safety for Vietnamese fishing boats during their normal operation in their traditional fishing ground near the rig, it said. 

At the beginning of May 2014, China illegally dispatched the rig as well as a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft to Vietnam’s waters and positioned the rig at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude, 80 miles deep into Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone. 

Despite Vietnam’s protest, China expanded its scale of operation and moved the rig to 15 degrees 33 minutes 36 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 11 seconds east longitude, 60 nautical miles deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone. 

China’s armed vessels have aggressively and consistently fired high-power water cannons at and intentionally rammed against Vietnamese public-service and civil ships, causing damage to many boats and injuring many people on board. 

Chinese ships have also continuously encircled, constrained and driven away Vietnamese fishing boats operating normally in its traditional fishing ground near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago.
VNA/VOV online