At 18:30 on July 16, China’s oil rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981 was 41 nautical miles from its previous position and out of Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, about 163 nautical miles southwest of China’s Hainan island, reported the Vietnam Coast Guard High Command.

The rig, which was illegally positioned inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in early May, started moving north-northwest toward Hainan island at 21:03pm on July 15 at a speed of about 4-4.2 nautical miles (nearly 8km) per hour, escorted by nearly 60 vessels of all kinds.

Vietnam’s law enforcement authorities are keeping a close eye on the movement of the rig and escort vessels.

In early May, 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 80 miles deep into Vietnam ’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

It later expanded the 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 waters.-VNA