At 5:30 am on May 27, the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou- 981, illegally stationed in Vietnam’s waters by China, moved 4 nautical miles east-northeast at a speed of 4.5 nautical miles per hour.

The information was released by deputy head of the Vietnam Fisheries Resources Surveillance Department Ha Le at a press conference in Hanoi on the same day.

At 10:00 am on May 27, China anchored its rig at a site of 15 degrees 33.38 minutes north latitude and 111 degrees 34.62 minutes east longitude, 25 nautical miles east-southeast of Tri Ton Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago, 23 nautical miles east-northeast from the previous location.

The Vietnamese side maintained its presence about 5-6 nautical miles from the rig.

Le quoted the fisheries surveillance force as saying that China kept the same number of ships as on May 26 but they operated at a higher intensity. Two Chinese planes constantly swept over the area where the rig is standing.

China also deployed larger and higher capacity military, marine surveillance and patrol vessels.

The Chinese ships besieged, rammed and fired water cannons at Vietnamese vessels, pushing them far away from the illegal rig.

China’s marine police patrol vessels, tug and transport were divided into groups to get close to Vietnamese law enforcement ships to prevent them from accessing the rig and then shoved them out to a distance of 10 nautical miles.

Meanwhile, the Chinese fishing ships hindered and threatened Vietnamese fishermen’s boats operating 15 nautical miles from the rig. They also made dangerous push against the Vietnamese boats.

China’s warships also increased activities to approach and even point guns at Vietnam’s fisheries surveillance vessels.

Le also informed reporters about Chinese ship 11209’s sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat with 10 members on board in Vietnamese waters on May 26.

The incident occurred at 4 pm at 15 degrees 16 minutes 42 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 1 minute 30 seconds longitude as the ship DNa 90152, from the central city of Da Nang, was conducting its regular operation in its traditional fishing grounds near Hoang Sa archipelago.

All the 10 fishermen on board were then rescued by other ships of Vietnam, he said, adding that the sinking ship is being towed to shore.

He stated that even more shockingly, Chinese ships hindered Vietnam’s fisheries surveillance and coast guard vessels from rescuing the victims.

According to the official, fisheries surveillance officers and sailors still keep their morale and determination to fulfill their assigned tasks. Fishermen are also eager to join activities in the area where the illegal rig is standing despite being chased and hindered by Chinese ships.-VNA