Vietnam’s Fisheries Surveillance force on June 14 detected a Chinese reconnaissance aircraft flying at the height of 300-500m above the Haiyang Shiyou-981 rig which is standing illegally inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

China maintained about 120 vessels of all kinds at the site on the day, and its fishing vessels, assisted by coastal guard ships, became more aggressive in disrupting regular fishing activities of Vietnamese boats, pushing them away 38-40 nautical miles from the rig.

Other Chinese ships operated in group to stop Vietnamese fisheries surveillance vessels from approaching the rig, ready to ram or fire water cannons at Vietnamese ships any time to drive them away.

Vietnam News Agency reporters on board Vietnamese fisheries surveillance vessels said despite bad weather, rough sea and the Chinese ships’ violent acts, Vietnam’s force maintained its communication activities to demand the withdrawal of the oil rig and Chinese ships from Vietnam’s waters.

At the beginning of May 2014, China illegally dispatched the rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 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 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.-VNA