China on June 24 sent 102 – 108 vessels, including six military ships, to protect its oil rig that is illegally stationed in Vietnam’s waters, continuing aggressive acts to harass Vietnamese ships, according to the Vietnam Fisheries Resources Surveillance Department.

From 13:10 to 14:25, China’s reconnaissance aircraft CMS-B3586 operated at an altitude of 500-700 metres in the south – southeast areas, 12 nautical miles from the rig Haiyang Shiyou-981.

During the day, Vietnamese fisheries surveillance vessels performed duties at 9 – 11 nautical miles from the rig and continued communication work requesting China to withdraw the rig and escort ships out of Vietnam’s waters.

China’s coast guard vessels and tugboats in rows sped up in an attempt to ram and fire high-pressure water cannons against Vietnamese ships.

Braving China’s aggressive acts, Vietnamese ships remained in the area to continue their duties.

Meanwhile, about 30 fishing ships of China, escorted by two coast guard vessels coded 46102 and 46106, operated at a distance of 20 – 50 metres from Vietnam’s fishing boats to prevent them from getting closer to the rig.

Supported by fisheries surveillance ships, Vietnamese fishing vessels continued their normal activities 40 – 45 nautical miles west – southwest of the rig.

At the beginning of May 2014, China illegally dispatched its oil 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 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.

Chinese ships have also continuously encircled, constrained and driven away Vietnamese fishing boats operating normally in its traditional fishing ground near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago.-VNA