Chinese marine surveillance aircraft CMS-B3808 on July 10 was seen to flight above Vietnamese law enforcement ships that are operating in the national waters, close to where drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 is illegally standing, reported the Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department.

At 11:45, 12:40 and 13:05, the CMS-B3808 circled above the Vietnamese ships at the height of 200-300m before leaving, it said.

At the same time, more than 100 Chinese ships of all kinds, including five battleships, continued surrounding the drilling rig, which was positioned in Vietnam ’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in early May.

The Chinese ships formed lines around the rig and aggressively prevented Vietnamese ships from approaching the rig to conduct communications missions to demand China immediately remove the facility from Vietnam’s waters.

Despite Chinese harassment, Vietnam’s coast guard and fisheries surveillance ships managed to operate in the area to perform their duties about 10-11 nautical miles from the rig.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese fishing vessels, facing the violent disturbance of Chinese fishing ships and two coast guard vessels, still maintained their normal activities in their traditional ground about 42 nautical miles from the rig.

At the beginning of May 2014, China illegally dispatched the rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 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. The location is 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.

On May 26, Chinese ship 11209 sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel that was operating normally in its traditional fishing ground near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.-VNA