Vietnamese ships undertaking law enforcement duties in the national waters on July 5 continued encountering the harassing obstruction by a large number of Chinese vessels running to defend their Haiyang Shiyou-981 drilling rig, which is illegally standing in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
The Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department reported that on the day, up to 115 Chinese ships of various kinds were deployed at the site where the rig is standing.
The Chinese vessels, including five battleships, sped up to hinder Vietnamese coast guard and fisheries surveillance ships from approaching the rig to perform their duties.
The Vietnamese ships, however, kept staying strong together about 10-11.5 nautical miles from the rig, launching communication works demanding the Chinese side withdraw its rig and escort ships out of Vietnam’s waters.
Meanwhile, despite the relentless harassment by Chinese ships, Vietnamese fishing boats continued their catching activities normally in the traditional fishing grounds with support of fisheries surveillance vessels.
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.
On May 26, Chinese ship 11209 sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel that was operating normally in its traditional fishing grounds near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.