The Vietnam Coast Guard is keeping a close watch on the movements of China’s Nan Hai Jiu Hao oil rig, the second drilling platform Beijing is towing to an area near the Gulf of Tonkin in the East Vietnam Sea.>> Vietnam PM demands rig withdrawal in meeting with top Chinese diplomat >> China towing second oil rig to East Vietnam Sea amid tensions>> Chinese boats caught illegally fishing in Vietnam’s waters >> Vietnam demands China remove oil rig from Vietnamese waters >> Chinese boats fail to stage scenes of ‘being rammed by Vietnamese ships'
Major General Nguyen Quang Dam, Commander of the Vietnam Coast Guard, on Thursday said his force is following the moves of Nan Hai Jiu Hao.
The new rig is dispatched against the backdrop that Beijing has unlawfully positioned the Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig in Vietnamese waters since May 1.
In a notice on its website on June 17, the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) said the new drilling platform would be towed between June 18 and 20 by a tugboat from its existing location, at 17°38' North latitude and 110°12.3' East longitude, to a new spot at 17°14.1' North latitude and 109°31' East longitude in the East Vietnam Sea.
That means the Nan Hai Jiu Hao rig, which is owned by China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), has departed from China’s Hai Nan Island and its destination will be an area off the mouth of the Gulf of Tonkin, Major General Dam said.
Vietnam and China are negotiating to fix a line to delineate the maritime boundary between the two countries in this gulf.
It is unknown how long the second rig will be placed in the East Vietnam Sea, according to ifeng.com, a news website of Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television.
Based on the coordinates provided by the MSA, the expected destination of the new rig is 50-60 nautical miles inside China’s continental shelf, Major General Dam said.
Such a location is 130 and 140 nautical miles from Vietnam’s Con Co Island and Ly Son Island, respectively, he added. China used to plant three or four drilling rigs there five or six years ago, the official added.
CNOOC bought the Nan Hai Jiu Hao platform, a semi-submersible drilling rig, from the Swiss drilling group Transocean Ltd last year.
The rig was built at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in the Republic of Korea in 1988.
The platform is 100 meters long and 78 meters wide and weighs 21,714 tons. It moves at four nautical miles per hour, the MSA said.
The rig can operate in 1,500-meter deep sea areas and can drill at a depth of 7,600 meters.
Meanwhile, Haiyang Shiyou 981 is 114 meters long and 90 meters wide and weighs 31,000 tons.
China has illegally maintained this oil rig in Vietnamese waters despite Vietnam’s repeated demand that it withdraw the rig and escorting ships immediately.Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!