China on May 17 continued showing its aggressiveness by sending more military ships to areas surrounding the Haiyang Shiyou-981 oil rig that it is illegally standing in Vietnam’s waters, said a senior official of the Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Force.

Surrounding Chinese military ships unveiled canvas sheets covering their weapons, intimidating Vietnamese fishing vessels, said Nguyen Van Trung, deputy head of the Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development at a press conference in Hanoi on the afternoon of May 17.

The ships kept on approaching and provoking the Vietnamese forces undertaking law enforcement in Vietnam ’s waters around the oil rig, said Trung.

By the morning of May 17, China maintained 119 ships of various kinds, including coast guard ships, warships, refuelling ships and fishing vessels, he said.

China has deployed two more warships, including a fast attack missile craft coded 755 and a fast patrol attack craft coded 789 to the site, he clarified.

As Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance ships approached the Haiyang Shiyou-981 oil rig to demand China recall the rig, many Chinese ships encircled, rammed and fire water cannons into Vietnamese ships, he said.

Especially, Chinese ship intentionally rammed a Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Force ship when it was on duty about 7 nautical miles from the oil rig, said Trung.

At the same time, Chinese fishing vessels continued surrounding Vietnamese fishing vessels, however, the Vietnamese fishermen persistently stayed firm to preserve their fishing ground, Trung said.

In particular, on the night of May 16, fishing boat QNg-90205-TS of Quang Ngai province was constrained by the Chinese ship coded 306 when it was operating normally in Vietnam ’s waters near Phu Lam island to the north of Hoang Sa archipelago. Vietnamese fishermen were beaten with two badly injured and their tools were destroyed. The Quang Ngai boat is currently captured by the Chinese side.

The Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Force has, however, exercised their utmost restraint. Together with the Coast Guard Force, they continue providing support for Vietnamese fishing boats to ensure their safety and operations at the traditional fishing ground around the illegally positioned rig, said Trung.-VNA