China on Tuesday morning moved its illegal oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 in the Vietnamese waters to a new location, according to Xinhua News Agency.
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The new location of the rig is still within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in the East Vietnam Sea.
At 5:30 am Tuesday, the drilling rig was towed by two tugboats at a speed of 5 nautical miles per hour southeast of Tri Ton Island, part of Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Pacacel) archipelago in the East Vietnam Sea, Xinhua News Agency said, citing China's Maritime Safety Administration (MSA). At 10 am the same day, the rig was placed in a new location at 15°33’38’’ North latitude and 111°34’62’’ East longitude, about 25 nautical miles from Tri Ton Island, within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. The MSA said that the rig has completed the first phase of its oil and gas exploration mission in the Vietnamese waters and has now entered the second phase. The MSA has also issued a warning that vessels should be careful when traveling through the area where the rig is located, as recently there have been collisions between fishing boats and cargo ships in the waters. Before this latest movement, the rig had illegally been placed in a location at 15°29’58’’ North latitude and 111°12’06’’ East longitude in the East Vietnam Sea, which also lies well within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, since May 1. Earlier on Monday, the Vietnamese Fisheries Resources Surveillance Department reported that the Chinese drilling rig moved about 100 meters north on Sunday, May 25.