As many as 38 Chinese fishing vessels and a Chinese coast guard ship coded 46102 on June 16 made a line to block and violently disturb Vietnamese fishing boats operating normally in Vietnam ’s waters, according to the Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department.

At the same time, up to 41 Chinese coast guard ships, 15 cargo vessels, 19 tugboats and six battleships continued defending the drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981, which is illegally standing in Vietnam ’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, said the department.

The Chinese fleet kept on circling and standing ready to ram Vietnamese ships, driving them 9-11 nautical miles away from the rig, the department reported.

In addition, a Chinese aircraft was seen flying at a height of 800-1,000m above the rig at 7:20, and another circled around it at 10:40 the same day, according to the department.

According to Vietnam News Agency reporters at the site, Chinese coast guard ship coded 2168 deliberately cut off Vietnamese fisheries surveillance ship KN768, creating an extremely dangerous situation.

Ship KN768 managed to timely swerve and get out of danger, avoiding serious damage for the vehicle and crewmembers on board.

According to the Maritime Law and international regulations, a ship can overtake another boat or change its course only after signaling and receiving acknowledgement from the overtaken boat. The Chinese ship 2168’s move seriously violated maritime safety regulations, intentionally endangering the Vietnamese vessel operating in Vietnam’s waters.

Despite the Chinese aggression, Vietnamese Fisheries Surveillance ships continued persistently approaching the rig to conduct their law enforcement missions, demanding China remove it from Vietnam’s waters.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese fishing vessels continued with their normal catching activities at about 30-35 nautical miles from the rig, the department added.

At the beginning of 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 at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude, 80 miles deep inside 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.

China ’s armed vessels have aggressively fired high-power water cannons at and intentionally rammed against Vietnamese public-service and civil ships, causing damage to many boats and injuring people on board.

Chinese ships have continuously encircled, constrained and driven away Vietnamese fishing boats and even injured Vietnamese fishermen, threatening their lives.

On May 26, Chinese ship 11209 sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel while it was operating normally in its traditional fishing ground near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.-VNA