China on May 29 maintained a fleet of 122 ships defending the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 that it illegally placed in Vietnam’s waters, according to the Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department.

The department reported that together with four warships, 41 coast guard vessels, 16 tugs, 14 cargo ships and 47 fishing vessels, China also sent a reconnaissance plane to fly above the rig.

Chinese ships formed groups of at least seven to hinder Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance ships and keep them 10 nautical miles away from the rig, said the department.

The Vietnamese ship KN-630 was fired at with water cannons by a Chinese coast guard vessel, seriously damaging its equipment.

In addition, a group of up to 45 Chinese fishing vessels kept on disturbing Vietnamese fishing boats operating in Vietnam ’s waters, about 30 nautical miles from the oil rig, the department reported.

China maintained a group of four ships to stand ready to chase, ram and fire water cannons at Vietnamese vessels, while Chinese fishing vessels kept on following and using all possible tools, including fishing nets, to disturb Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance ships, the department added.

It said that in the afternoon of May 29, the DNa-90152 fishing boat sunk by a Chinese ship on May 26 was towed to shore for repairs on Ly Son Island.

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. The location is 80 miles deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

China’s armed vessels aggressively 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 continuously encircled, constrained and driven away Vietnamese fishing boats and even injured Vietnamese fishermen, threatening their lives.

On May 27, China moved the rig to 15 degrees 33 minutes 22 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 36 seconds east longitude. The new location is 25 nautical miles from Tri Ton Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago and 23 nautical miles east-northeast from the old location, still completely within Vietnam’s continental shelf. With the move, China has kept on violating Vietnam ’s sovereign right and jurisdiction.-VNA