China on July 3 sent two more military vessels to protect its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 that is parked illegally in Vietnam’s waters, adding up to seven ships of this kind, according to the Vietnam Fisheries Resources Surveillance Department.

In the platform’s vicinity, China still maintained a large number of vehicles, including 46 – 48 coast guard vessels, 14 – 16 cargo ships, 15 – 16 tugboats, and 34 fishing vessels.

Chinese fishing ships backed by two coast guard vessels tried to stay close to prevent Vietnamese fishing boats from entering in the rig’s surrounding waters, which are Vietnam’s traditional fishing grounds.

When Vietnam’s fisheries surveillance ships were coming near the rig, Chinese vessels sped up to block their way to it.

Braving such acts of the Chinese side, Vietnamese ships persistently stayed at 10 – 11 nautical miles from the rig to continue their communication works to ask China to withdraw the rig and all escort vehicles.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s fishing boats went on with normal activities with the support of fisheries surveillance vessels.

At the beginning of May 2014, China illegally positioned the rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude. The location was 80 miles deep into Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

It also dispatched a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft to Vietnam’s waters.

However, far from responding to Vietnam’s goodwill requests, China has expanded its scale of operation and moved the Haiyang Shiyou-981 drilling rig to 15 degrees 33 minutes 36 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 11 seconds east longitude. The new location is 60 nautical 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.-VNA