Vietnamese fisheries surveillance staff on June 6 detected high-capacity Chinese fishing ships in the area surrounding the Haiyang Shiyou-981 rig which is illegally standing in Vietnam’s waters.

The Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department said these vessels, having bulbous bow and bow thrusters, were accompanied by two Chinese coast guard ships. Together with other fishing vessels, they kept on hampering and throwing stones and bottles to Vietnamese ships.

As of June 6, China still kept a fleet of between 110-115 ships around the rig, including around 40 coast guard ships, about 30 cargo ships and tugboats, 35-40 fishing vessels and four military ships, according to the department.

Chinese ships continued to operate in groups to prevent Vietnamese law enforcement ships from approaching the rig. They blasted sirens, fired water cannon at and were ready to ram Vietnamese vessels any time, the department said.

However, Vietnamese law enforcement ships persistently maintained their operation at about 9-11 nautical miles from the rig, while Vietnamese fishermen continued their normal catching activities about 25-20 nautical miles from it, said the department.

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.

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, 25 nautical miles from Tri Ton Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago and 23 nautical miles east-northeast from the old location.

On June 3, the oil rig moved yet again to another new position, at 15 degrees 33 minutes 36 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 11 seconds east longitude. The new position is still completely within Vietnam ’s continental shelf.-VNA