Foreign ship opens fire on local fishing boat in Vietnam’s waters

Four crewmen were injured after what was alleged to have been an Indonesian vessel opened fire on a Vietnamese fishing boat while it operated in Vietnam’s waters

Nguyen Thanh Ngoc, captain of the fishing boat, escorts his wounded crewmen to the emergency room at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.

Two of the four wounded crew members were brought to Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday afternoon for emergency treatment.

Speaking with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper at the infirmary, Nguyen Thanh Ngoc, captain of the Vietnamese fishing boat, recalled the attack that took place on Saturday night.

Ngoc’s ship, registration number BD 31153 TS, was fishing for squid in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone, 100 nautical miles southeast of Con Dao Islands off the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, at around 9:00 pm.

An unidentified ship approached the fishing boat, Ngoc said, adding that he was able to spot an Indonesian flag on the vessel.

“Before we had any chance to react, several men aboard the ship started firing at us. I told my crew to turn off the lights and turn on all engines to escape,” the captain recounted.

“Several Vietnamese boats operating nearby also fled,” he added.

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The boat BD 31153 TS after the attack on July 22, 2017. Photo: Nguyen Thanh Ngoc

About 15 people opened fire before the vessel rammed Ngoc’s fishing boat from behind, nearly sinking it.

His crew members lay flat on the deck to avoid being hit, while Ngoc tried to stay low as he steered the ship.

As Ngoc steered his ship toward Con Dao, the attackers’ vessel pursued and attempted to redirect the Vietnamese boat toward Indonesian waters, the captain continued.

The attack lasted for about two hours, during which four crewmen were wounded.

Nguyen Van Cuong was shot in his thigh, stomach, and back, Nguyen Van Dung was shot in his leg and buttock, while the other two crewmen suffered minor wounds.

The fishing boat was heavily damaged by the shooting.

Vietnamese authorities have begun an investigation into the case.

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