China on June 22 mobilised up to 137 ships, including five military ships, to protect its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 that is illegally standing in Vietnam ’s waters, according to the Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department.

At 06:40 and 08:13, Vietnam’s law enforcement forces at sea also detected two Chinese reconnaissance aircraft operating at an altitude of 1,000m-2,000m in the west – southwest and the south – southwest areas, about 12-13 nautical miles from the position that China illegally places its drilling rig.

Chinese ships constantly followed close behind and obstructed law enforcement operations of Vietnamese fisheries surveillance authorities. Sometimes, Chinese ships were only 30m from Vietnamese vessels.

Meanwhile, the Vietnamese fisheries surveillance vessels still retained their operation about 10 – 12 nautical miles from the rig and conducted communication actions requesting the Chinese side to withdraw the rig and escort ships out of Vietnam’s waters.

The same day, about 54 Chinese fishing ships, supported by coast guard ship coded 46102, formed a line to violently block Vietnamese fishing boats from operating in their traditional fishing grounds, about 35-40 nautical miles from the rig.

However, the Chinese aggression could not stop Vietnamese fishermen from conducting their usual catching activities in Vietnam ’s waters.

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, 80 miles deep into Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

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 and even injured Vietnamese fishermen, threatening their lives.-VNA