The captains of two fishing boats from central Vietnam have reported to authorities that they were attacked by Chinese ships off Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago in the East Sea.
>> Chinese fishing boats bully Vietnamese counterparts in Vietnam’s waters
The captains of the boats QNg 90226 and QNg 95159, from the central province of Quang Ngai, notified the Tinh Ky Border Guard Station in the province’s Son Tinh District of the attacks on the afternoon of November 27, one day after they were purportedly assaulted while fishing in Vietnamese waters.
The assaults were committed by several Chinese ships, which fired water cannons at both vessels, while one of the foreign boats rammed the QNg 90226, the captains said.
The aggressive actions did not cause any casualties, but the two Vietnamese vessels were badly damaged, they added.
The Tinh Ky Border Guard Station has already collected testimony from the crewmembers of the vessels after hearing reports from the captains and inspecting the ships to determine the actual damage, said Senior Lieutenant Ha Quoc Vuong, chief of the station.
The station will keep the provincial Command of Border Guard informed of the attacks, Sr. Lt. Vuong said.
In response to the reported ramming and water cannon firing, the Vietnam Fishery Association said it has yet to receive information about such incidents from provincial authorities.
“If the information is confirmed to be true, then such attacks are absolutely unacceptable, and we will voice our strong objection to China over the matter,” Hoang Dinh Yen, chairman of the association, said.
“The association will also send documents to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Consular Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to express our opposition and call on these agencies to take action to protect our fishermen at sea,” Yen said.
Do Thanh, the owner of the vessel QNg 90226, points at a large crack reportedly caused by Chinese ships on November 26, 2014 in Vietnamese waters. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Ramming, firing water cannons
Do Thanh, the owner of the boat QNg 90226, reported to the said border guard station that his ship, with seven fishermen on board, left Quang Ngai on November 8 for a traditional fishery field off Da Loi Island, part of Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago.
At about 12:00 pm on November 26, a Chinese coast guard vessel coded #46102 suddenly appeared and approached his boat, causing damage to his nets that were cast on the sea, Thanh said.
The foreign ship then cornered the local boat in the waters for an hour, after which two other Chinese vessels turned up and approached it, Thanh said.
“The Chinese ships continuously fired their water cannons at my boat. We had to shield the vessel from the powerful blasts of water while the captain tried to steer the ship away from the attackers,” the owner added.
After the water assault, one of the attacking ships suddenly sped up and rammed the Vietnamese ship, causing heavy damage, the captain, Do Van Nam, reported.
The Vietnamese ship finally escaped from the attack and sailed back toward Quang Ngai, but after covering just four nautical miles it was confronted by two more Chinese vessels, one of which was coded #2, Nam said.
Nam tried to speed up and flee from the foreign vessels, which then turned to attack another local fishing boat, QNg 95159, operating nearby, also in the waters off Hoang Sa.
Pham Y, the ship’s captain, said the two Chinese ships battered his watercraft with their water cannons, breaking the cabin windows and sweeping 50 fishing nets into the sea.
The local ship then managed to escape and return to the mainland, Y said.