China on July 8 mobilised an electronic reconnaissance plane to oversee the operation of Vietnamese law enforcement ships in the area that China is illegally placing its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981, reported the Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department.

From 7:15-8:05am, the TU-154M reconnaissance aircraft coded 1224 was seen flying at the attitude of 200-300m above the sea .

Meanwhile, China still kept 106 ships of various kinds around its oil rig. They include 46 coast guard, 14 cargo, 27 fishing ships, 14 tugboats, and five military vessels.

When Vietnamese fisheries surveillance ships tried to approach the rig at a distance of 10-11 nautical miles to demand China immediately withdraw its rig and ships out of Vietnam’s waters, Chinese ships simultaneously sped up and kept close to Vietnamese ships, hindering them from approaching the rig.

While Vietnamese fishing ships are still operating at their traditional fishing grounds 42-45 nautical miles from the rig, they were obstructed by Chinese fishing ships backed by their coast guard and fishery logistics service ships.

In early 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 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.

China’s armed vessels have aggressively and consistently 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.

On May 26, Chinese ship 11209 even sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel that was operating normally in its traditional fishing grounds near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.-VNA