|Chinese ships closely approach and are ready to ram into Vietnamese vessels (Photo: VNA)|
Many among 108-112 Chinese ships of various kinds, including five military ships, sped towards as close as 100-200 metres and blasted sirens to obstruct Vietnamese ships from approaching the oil rig, the Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department reported.
When Vietnamese fishing boats were operating in their traditional fishing grounds 42-45 nautical miles from the rig, they were harassed by Chinese fishing ships backed by their coast guard and service ships.
Vietnamese fisheries surveillance vessels tried to avoid clash while staying at a distance of about 10 – 11 nautical miles from the rig to demand China immediately withdraw its rig and escort ships out of Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continent shelf. They also kept a close watch on Vietnamese fishing boats to ensure their safety.
In early May 2014, 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 the rig at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude. The location is 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.
On May 26, Chinese ship 11209 sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel that was operating normally in its traditional fishing ground near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.