The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on October 14 sent a diplomatic note to the Chinese Embassy, once again requesting coordination in search for Boat QNg 66478TS and its nine-member crew as well as provision of any information.

The request was announced by MoFA Spokesperson Nguyen Phuong Nga at the ministry’s regular press briefing in Hanoi on the same day.

According to the spokesperson, on September 11, 2010, the Chinese captured Boat QNg-66478TS and nine Vietnamese fishermen onboard within the territorial waters of Vietnam ’s Hoang Sa (Paracels) archipelago.

Immediately after receiving the news, competent Vietnamese agencies investigated the case and found that the fishermen were legally fishing offshore Hoang Sa archipelago when they were seized. The boat was only carrying nomal  fishing equipment such as nets and floodlights.

MoFA had contacted its Chinese partners at different levels in Hanoi and Beijing to seek solutions to the issue.

Earlier, the ministry sent a diplomatic note to the Chinese Embassy saying that China ’s seizure of the Vietnamese vessel and its fishermen while they were legally fishing in the Vietnamese territorial waters seriously violated Vietnam ’s sovereignty and sovereign rights. The ministry also demanded the Chinese side immediately and unconditionally release the fishing vessel and fishermen.

On October 9, China decided to release Boat QNg 66478TS. The boat and its nine fishermen, as reported by the Chinese side, departed at 1.00 pm on October 11.

However, until the morning of October 13, neither the boat nor the fishermen returned home . The MoFA representatives met Chinese Embassy staff in Vietnam , asking the Chinese side to join hands with Vietnamese competent agencies to seek the boat and the fishermen.

In the evening of October 13, the Chinese Embassy said that when releasing the Vietnamese boat and fishermen, the Chinese had provided them with sufficient fuel and other necessities for their return journey. Boat QNg 66478TS left port at 1.00 pm on October 11 and then, it came back to ask for more fuel and the Chinese side agreed.

The Chinese agencies also advised the Vietnamese fishermen to stay for several days because of a tropical depression in the East Sea . However, the fishermen decided to depart and committed in writing that they would be fully responsible for their decision. The boat and fishermen set off in the evening of October 11.

The Chinese Embassy said that it would ask competent Chinese agencies to coordinate in search for the boat and fishermen./.