Vietnamese rescuers on Friday night brought 11 crew members of a fishing boat to shore safely in a difficult rescue mission that was reportedly hindered by two Chinese coast guard boats.
The Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Center in Da Nang on October 20 received distress calls from a fishing boat which had broken down in rough waters near Vietnam's Hoang Sa (Paracels) Islands.
The center sent out a boat the next night and they found the fishermen on Friday morning. By then the crew had run out of food and fresh water.
Officials from the rescue center said they were just half a sea mile from the fishing boat but it took them three hours to reach it because two Chinese boats kept obstructing them.
The center had to contact foreign affairs officials and ask them to intervene.
Phan Xuan Son, captain of the rescue boat, said the Chinese coast guard vessels tried to block and slow his boat down. But there was no help,” Son said.
He said the Chinese boats also followed and caused trouble when his boat was pulling the fishing boat home.
The incident is the fourth time Chinese boats have tried to obstruct Vietnam’s legal rescue missions in Vietnamese waters near Hoang Sa this year.