On July 4, China maintained the presence of five battleships, 48 coast guard, 15 cargo vessels and four tugboats around drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 that has been illegally standing in Vietnam’s waters since early May, according to the Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department.

As Vietnam’s fisheries surveillance ships approached the rig on their communications work, Chinese ships concurrently sped up to stop them from getting close to it.

At the same time, 34 Chinese fishing vessels, with the support of two coast guard ships, continued disturbing and driving away Vietnamese fishing boats operating normally in their traditional fishing ground in Vietnam’s waters, said the department.

Facing the Chinese aggression and provocation, Vietnamese ships managed to avoid collisions and persistently operated at about 10 nautical miles from the rig to demand China immediately remove out of Vietnam’s exclusive zone and continental shelf.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s fishing vessels continued to conduct their activities, added 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 into Vietnam ’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

Despite Vietnam’s protest, China expanded its 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 continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

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

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