Chinese tugboat 281 on June 7 deliberately rammed into the left side of Vietnam’s fisheries surveillance ship KN-635 that was undertaking law enforcement in the area around the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 that is illegally standing in Vietnamese waters, according to the Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department.

The Chinese fleet, including about 120 vessels, also blasted sirens, fired water cannon at and were ready to ram Vietnamese vessels any time, preventing them from approaching the rig, the department said.

At the same time, fishing vessels of China, backed by four coast guard ships, kept hampering Vietnamese fishing boats from operating in their traditional fishing grounds within Vietnam ’s waters, noted the department.

On the day, up to 40 Chinese coast guard ships, more than 30 cargo ships and tugboats, 40-45 fishing vessels and four military ships - two were minesweepers and the others were missile-armed frigates - were maintained at the rig’s site. A Y-8 aircraft was spotted to fly above the rig.

Despite the Chinese aggression, Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance ships continued to maintain their operations at about 9-11 nautical miles from the rig to voice protests and demand China remove its rig immediately out of Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, according to the department.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese fishermen continued their normal catching activities about 35-40 nautical miles from the rig, demanding their fishing grounds, it added.

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 inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

On May 27, China expand the rig’s operation by moving it to 15 degrees 33 minutes 22 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 36 seconds east longitude, 25 nautical miles from Tri Ton Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago and 23 nautical miles east-northeast from the old location.

On June 3, the oil rig moved yet again to another new position, at 15 degrees 33 minutes 36 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 11 seconds east longitude. The new position is still completely within Vietnam ’s continental shelf.-VNA