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Chinese ship rams Vietnam fishing boat 2 times off Truong Sa (Spratlys)

Saturday, July 25, 2015, 10:27 GMT+7
Chinese ship rams Vietnam fishing boat 2 times off Truong Sa (Spratlys)
This file photo shows a Vietnamese fishing boat returning to the mainland after 20 days of operation in the waters of Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago in the East Vietnam Sea.

A Vietnamese fishing boat was operating off Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago in the East Vietnam Sea when it was rammed by an iron-clad Chinese ship on Tuesday, the local vessel’s captain reported.    The incident occurred at 1:00 pm, when the fishing vessel, from the south-central province of Binh Dinh, was operating off Song Tu Tay Island, part of Truong Sa, Nguyen Nhat Ngoc told the border guard station at Quy Nhon Port on Friday. A strange iron-clad Chinese ship numbered 994 suddenly appeared and approached Ngoc’s vessel, sounding its horn loudly, according to Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper.  The foreign vessel then fired its water cannon on the local ship, the 53-year-old boat captain said. “In order to avoid a possible collision, I tried to steer my boat away, but the strange ship still chased after and then rammed it on the right side,” Ngoc recounted. The hard hit broke the exhaust pipe of the fishing boat’s engine and smashed a light system of the vessel, he said. As the damaged vessel continued running to escape, the foreign pursued it and made a second crash, this time onto its left side, the captain said. The second attack broke up another lighting system of his boat, he added. The Chinese vessel then continued chasing the local vessel for 30 minutes before leaving the Vietnamese waters, according to the captain. The foreign vessel rushed toward the Vietnamese boat when crewmembers were sleeping, according to Luong Xuan Nguyen, one of the crew. “After seeing the foreign ship, I stood up and rushed to close a door on our boat, but many onboard that vessel then threw a lot of jars at us,” he recalled, adding the foreigners wore camouflage battledress. Nguyen said he did not know whether that Chinese ship was a military or civil one, although it was seen equipped with many guns, according to Nguoi Lao Dong. The attack caused no casualty but resulted in a damage of at least VND40 million (US$1,840), captain Ngoc said.

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