Illustrative image (Source: http://thanhnien.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) – Chinese authorities refused to allow Vietnamese fishing ships, which encountered bad weather at sea, entry to Bong Bay Island for shelter.

The six fishing ships, with about 259 fishermen on board, were struck with big waves and strong winds when operating at sea about 40 nautical miles from Hoang Sa Archipelago’s Bong Bay Island on August 12.

The National Committee for Search and Rescue urged the Consular Department under the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ask the Chinese side to allow the Vietnamese to shelter in Bong Bay Island. However, Chinese authorities said that the island was not suitable for shelter.

According to the National Committee for Search and Rescue, the ships, owned by fishermen from central Quang Nam province, stopped about 5 nautical miles from Hoang Sa Archipelago’s Bong Bay Island to the South East and sought to stay in safety.

The Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Research and Rescue, and the Border Force of Quang Nam province have been asked to keep contact with the ships. Bong Bay Island in Hoang Sa Archipelago belongs to Vietnam but has been occupied by China./.