China keeps five military ships to defend its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981 which is illegally standing in Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, reported the Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department on June 30.

The Chinese side has maintained up to 120 ships of various kinds around the rig site, including 46-48 coast guard vessels, 13-15 cargo ships, 34 fishing ships, and 16-18 tugboats.

When Vietnamese fisheries surveillance ships tried to approach the rig at a distance of 10-11.5 nautical miles to demand China immediately withdraw its rig and ships out of Vietnam’s waters, Chinese ships sped towards, besieged and obstructed Vietnamese ships from the site.

Braving the Chinese blockade and aggression, Vietnamese fisheries surveillance ships still stayed there to continue with communication activities.

Vietnamese fishing ships, while conducting normal catching activities at the traditional fishing grounds 40-44 nautical miles from the rig, were hindered by nearly 34 Chinese fishing ships backed by two coast guard ships.

Thanks to help by Vietnam’s fisheries surveillance ships, they were able to continue activities in safety there.

According to the department, the position of the rig remains unchanged on the day.

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 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.

Ever since the tensions began, Vietnam has exercised the utmost restraint, shown every gesture of goodwill and exhausted all dialogue channels to communicate with Chinese authorities of different levels in order to express protest and demand China immediately withdraw its rig and armed and military vessels out of Vietnam’s waters.

Nevertheless, up to now, China has failed to respond to Vietnam’s legitimate demand. On the contrary, it has been slandering and blaming Vietnam while continuing to escalate the use of force and violations in an increasingly dangerous and serious manner.

By encircling, chasing, ramming and firing water cannons at Vietnamese boats, they have injured many sailors and fishermen, threatening their safety.-VNA