|China violates Vietnam's sovereignty by positioning its oil rig in Vietnam's waters. Photo: VNA|
As many as 43 Chinese fishing ships, backed by two coast guard vessels, continued to aggressively encircle Vietnamese fishing boats when they were operating in their traditional fishing grounds around the rig’s area.
China ’s ships even tried into make it look like they were being rammed by Vietnamese boats, by sailing past them and then suddenly reversing into them.
Throughout the day, China maintained a presence of 38 coast guard vessels, 13 cargo ships, 19 tugboats and six warships organised in groups around the rig at distances of 7-8 and 9-11 nautical miles away.
The Chinese ships were ready to ram against and fire water cannons at Vietnam ’s fisheries surveillance vessels in order to push them away from the rig.
Despite the Chinese aggression, Vietnamese ships persistently stayed at about 30-40 nautical miles from the rig to continue their normal activities in their fishing grounds, oppose the unacceptable acts of Chinese ships, and request China to withdraw its rig from Vietnam’s waters.
At the beginning of May, China illegally dispatched the rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 as well as a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft to Vietnam’s waters and positioned it at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude, 80 miles deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.
On May 26, Chinese ships sank a fishing boat belonging to Da Nang fishermen operating in the traditional fishing grounds near Vietnam ’s Hoang Sa archipelago.
On June 1, Chinese ships seriously damaged ship 2016 of the Vietnam Coast Guard, causing holes on its side.
On June 7, Chinese ships deliberately rammed into Vietnam’s fisheries surveillance ship KN-635, causing more damage.