Ships of the Vietnam Coast Guard and Fisheries Surveillance Force have persistently stayed at the site of China’s Haiyang Shiyou-981 oil rig to demand its withdrawal out of Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf as well as to ensure safety for Vietnamese fishermen operating in the area.

According to the Vietnam Coast Guard Command under the Defence Ministry, by 14h50’ on May 14, the number of Chinese military ships at the site remained unchanged from the previous day, while the number of Chinese fishing vessels increased from 15 to 40.

While moving around to the west-northwest of the oil rig, Vietnamese coast guard and fisheries surveillance ships were harassed by Chinese coast guard vessels.

One Chinese coast guard vessel, coded 46102, attempted to ram into the right side of Vietnam’s ship 2016, but failed as the Vietnamese ship managed to stop and move back.

Between 8:55-9:05 am on May 14, a Chinese airplane flew over Vietnamese ships 8003 and 4033, while Chinese fishing boats ran after Vietnamese fishing boats and tried to interfere with their fishing activities. However, the Vietnamese fishing boats were closely protected by the coast guard and fisheries surveillance forces.

The same day, the Fisheries Surveillance Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reported that on May 14, China’s marine police ships attacked Vietnam’s fisheries surveillance vessels using hard objects and water cannons, while Chinese fishing ship coded 98008 hit the rear of Vietnam’s fisheries surveillance ship KN797.

The department said its vessels are operating in the area to push for the withdrawal of the Chinese oil rig while ensuring safety for Vietnamese fishermen operating there.

On May 2, China stationed the Haiyang Shiyou-981 oil 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 and 119 nautical miles to Vietnam’s Ly Son Island.

Besides, it has deployed a large number of ships of various kinds to the area, including military, coast guard, marine surveillance, marine patrol and fisheries that are backed by rescue, transport, refuelling and fishing ships.

Chinese ships have repeatedly rammed and fired water cannons into Vietnamese coast guard and fisheries surveillance ships which are carrying out their law enforcement missions in the country’s waters, leaving many Vietnamese ships damaged and nine fisheries surveillance officers injured.-VNA