Two Taiwanese vessels rammed and fired their water cannons at a Vietnamese fishing boat near Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago in early January, the local boat’s captain confirmed on Saturday.
Border guards in the central province of Quang Ngai have received the report on the incident from Nguyen Thanh Bien, 32, the captain and owner of the fishing boat QNg 90649, as well as carried out a damage inspection and gather statements from the fishermen on board.
At around 7:30 am on January 6, the fishing ship was anchoring in a sea area about four nautical miles east of Son Ca Island, part of Truong Sa, when it was approached by two white Taiwanese patrol boats with registration numbers PP 10052 and PP 10053, according to Captain Bien.
“I expected a potential confrontation and steered my boat away. However, the two Taiwanese vessels kept pursuing and fired their water cannons at us,” the captain recounted.
One of the patrol boats even crashed into the starboard of the fishing ship, causing damage to its cabin and fish-finding device, he added.
The Taiwanese boats only ceased the attack when the Vietnamese ship fled to a maritime area some two nautical miles off Son Ca Island, before heading toward Ba Binh Island, part of Truong Sa, which is being illegally occupied by Taiwan.
Nguyen Ha, one of the fishers aboard the fishing boat, stated that another Vietnamese ship operating in the area was also attacked by the same patrol boats the same day.
The incident has been reported to competent authorities, Lieutenant Colonel Pham Xuan Trung, chief of the naval staff on Son Ca Island, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on the phone.
“We have investigated and can confirm that the two vessels are patrol boats of Taiwan,” Lt. Col. Trung asserted.
The two Taiwanese vessels have been spotted near Ba Binh Island several times before and asked to stay away from Vietnam’s maritime territory by the naval officers, he added.