China has sent a fast attack missile boat and a minesweeper to the Vietnamese waters where its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 has been illegally placed since May 1, the Vietnamese Fisheries Resources Surveillance Department reported on Monday.
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The Chinese minesweeper also operated near the rig, Le added.
Chinese vessels were arranged into groups of 8-10 boats that always attempted to ram or fired their water cannons at Vietnamese vessels in areas about 10-12 nautical miles from the rig, rather than only 4-5 nautical miles in previous days, the department said. At the same time, 25-30 large iron-covered fishing boats were arranged a few dozen of meters apart, creating a “barrier” stretching about one nautical mile to prevent Vietnamese vessels from approaching the rig.
Meanwhile, the Vietnamese force in the waters included 60 vessels of the Vietnam Coast Guard and the Fisheries Resources Sureveillance Department.
These Vietnamese ships operated 5-6 nautical miles from the Chinese rig.
At 4 pm on Monday, about 40 Chinese fishing boats surrounded a group of Vietnamese fishing ships, which were from the central city of Da Nang, in an area about 17 nautical miles south-southwest from the rig, the department reported. Suddenly, Chinese fishing boat #11209 crashed into Vietnamese fishing ship DNa 90152 with 10 fishermen on board. The hard hit sank the local ship, and some Vietnamese fishing boats operating nearby managed to save all the 10 crew members. The waters where the Vietnamese ship sank is within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf and is the traditional fishing ground of Vietnamese fishermen, the department said. As previously reported, the drilling platform has been illegally planted at a location at 15°29’58’’ North latitude and 111°12’06’’ East longitude in the East Vietnam Sea, which lies well within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, since May 1. However, the Vietnamese Fisheries Resources Surveillance Department reported on Monday that the Chinese rig moved about 100 meters north on Sunday, May 25.
The rig stopped moving on Monday, the department said.