The Vietnam Coast Guard is investigating a case in which a Thai oil tanker was caught encroaching on southern Vietnamese waters and illegally selling oil to a local boat last Saturday. The infringing Thai-flagged ship, Asia Star, was discovered illicitly selling oil to a Vietnamese fishing boat about 130 nautical miles south of Con Son Island on September 26, the High Command of the Vietnam Coast Guard of Zone 4, based on Phu Quoc Island off the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang, said. The waters are within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone, the High Command said. Con Son is the largest island of the Con Dao archipelago, part of the southern Vietnamese province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau. The Thai tanker captain is 62-year-old Sermkhaosa - Ard, who led a crew of 10 members, while the captain of the local boat is Le Van Pho, 48, of the southern province of Tien Giang. The Vietnamese vessel is coded BV 91657 TS, but the code has been proven to be fake, VTC News reported. At the time of detection, coast guard officers found that the Thai tanker had transmitted 20,000 liters out of 150,000 liters of diesel oil it was carrying to the local vessel, according to news website VnExpress. Captain Sermkhaosa - Ard, of Thai nationality, failed to show any documents to prove the origin of the oil. Coast guard officers made a report on the case and escorted both the foreign and local ships to Phu Quoc Island for investigation. In other related news, the border guard station on Bach Long Vi Island off the northern city of Hai Phong has unveiled statistics showing that Chinese boats have been caught illegal fishing in the waters of the island for 3,681 times in the first nine months of this year.
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