Many ships of Vietnam’s fisheries surveillance authority and coast guard on duty at the area where China is illegally positioning its rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 have been attacked by Chinese ships over the past more than 10 days.

According to Vietnam News Agency reporters onboard fisheries surveillance vessels at the site, whenever Vietnam’s ships approached the rig, Chinese ships would ram into and fire water cannons at them, at least three Chinese vessels against each Vietnamese one.

Particularly on May 12 morning, Chinese ships coded 2401, 37102, 32101 and 21201 used water cannons against Vietnam’s fisheries surveillance ship HP926, targeting its communication system and control cabin, threatening the safety of the ship and all people onboard.

The attempt to destroy a ship’s communication system is a serious violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

At 9:00 am on May 15, Chinese ship 2112 suddenly began to follow Vietnam Coast Guard vessel 8003 and kept a distance of 180 metres to one side, while Chinese ship 3411 closely approached the Vietnamese boat from the other side. Both Chinese ships then attempted to block the Vietnamese vessel from getting closer to the illegal rig. At that time, they were about 10 nautical miles from the rig.

Vu Duc Tao, chief of Fisheries Surveillance Team No. 4, said a number of fisheries surveillance ships have been damaged and some crew members injured in such attacks. He however affirmed that the team will continue to stay at the site and maintain peaceful measures to demand China to withdraw its rig out of Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone.

On May 2, China stationed the rig at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude. The location is 80 nautical miles deep inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone.

According to the Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, by May 15 China had deployed 99 ships (38 coast guard vessels, 19 logistical boats, eight tugs, four warships and 30 fishing ships) and different aircraft to the area where the rig stands illegally in Vietnam’s waters.-VNA