A Vietnamese fishing boat from the central province of Quang Ngai has reported being chased and robbed by Chinese ships in Vietnam's waters, the latest in a series of similar cases, local authorities said. Pham Thi Huong, deputy chairperson of Quang Ngai’s Ly Son Island District People’s Committee, on Tuesday confirmed this report and said the local border guard force was examining the damage to the vessel QNg 96093, which was attacked on June 28. At 9:00 am that day, when the vessel was operating off Bach Quy Island, part of Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago in the East Vietnam Sea, two Chinese ships, #44044 and #33101, sprang up from nowhere and approached the local vessel, Nguyen Chi Thanh, the boat captain, said. Thanh’s boat tried to flee from the foreign ships, but it failed to escape after a chase. The crew members of the foreign vessels boarded the Vietnamese ship and took away three tons of fish, a positioning system and five air hose reels. The total value of the stolen property is estimated at VND139 million (US$6,375), Thanh said. The attack is the latest in a series of similar cases involving fishing boats from Quang Ngai that have been recorded since early June, local authorities said. During the incidents, the Chinese forces either beat or fired their water cannons at the Vietnamese fishermen, injuring several people, said Nguyen Thanh Hung, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of Binh Chau Commune in Quang Ngai Province.
The most recent case occurred at 7:30 pm on June 17, when the ship QNg 95431, from Binh Chau, was fishing off Hoang Sa and the Chinese ship #4044 appeared and approached it.
Crew members from the foreign boat blatantly boarded the local vessel, assaulted its crew, and took away all the property on board.
Three other serious attacks happened to the ships coded QNg 90205 TS, QNg 90369, QNg 90657 TS – all from Binh Chau – from June 7 to 14.
They were bullied by Chinese ships when fishing off the archipelago, Hung said.
The assaulters fired their powerful water cannons at the Vietnamese fishermen, injuring Bui Tan Doan, 23, and Cao Xuan Ly, 42, of the ship QNg 90369, the boat owner and captain, Nguyen Trung Kien, 42, reported.
The foreigners also took away about 11 metric tons of aquatic products, and a large amount of navigation equipment and fishing tools.
The three attacks caused damage totaling about VND1.05 billion ($48,150). In its announcement on Tuesday, the Vietnam Fisheries Trade Union (VFTU) demanded that China take measures to stop the situation in which Chinese ships keep attacking and stealing from Vietnamese fishing boats. Chinese ships must not cause adverse effects on the normal operations of Vietnamese fishermen in Vietnam's waters, and must not pose a threat to the lives and property of those fishers, the VFTU said. The VFTU also called on Vietnamese fishermen to continue their normal activities in their traditional fishing grounds in Vietnam's waters and to support each other during their operations at sea.