Chinese patrol ships entered deep into Vietnamese territory and cut off the exploration cable of a Vietnamese ship engaged in oil exploration on Thursday, the state-owned Vietnam Oil and Gas Group said Friday.
Later the same day, the Vietnamese foreign ministry said it has called on China to prevent any further incidents within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and provide compensation for the damages caused by the Chinese ships.
Do Van Hau, deputy general director of PetroVietnam, said at press briefing in Hanoi that at around 5 a.m. Thursday, three Chinese marine surveillance vessels approached an exploration area just about 120 sea miles off the central Vietnamese coast, and about 340 sea miles from Hainan, the nearest Chinese island.
The PetroVietnam Technical Service Corporation (PTSC), an affiliate of PetroVietnam, has since March 17 dispatched the seismic survey ship Binh Minh 02 to conduct seismic surveys at Lots 125, 126, 148 and 149 in this area, which lies totally within the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam.
The Chinese ships then cut the exploration cables of Binh Minh 2, Hau said, adding that they kept threatening the Vietnamese ship saying that it had violated China's sovereignty.
Despite Binh Minh 02's denial of their wrongful allegations, the harassment didn't stop until 9 a.m.
Chinese ships cut the exploration cables of a Vietnamese seismic survey ship operating in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
The Vietnamese ship had to stop its work and return for repairs, but returned to the area Friday morning to resume work, Hau said.
It was irrational and a critical violation of Vietnam's sovereignty that the Chinese ship went deep into Vietnam's territorial waters, hindering PetroVietnam's operations, Hau said, adding that the actions have caused big losses to the group.
PetroVietnam has reported the matter to the government and proposed local agencies take the strongest possible measures to protest China's acts. China should be asked to stop obstructing the group's operation, he said.
The government also needs to support PetroVietnam in its oil exploration and mining operations, PetroVietnam said.
PetroVietnam will continue oil exploration in the area, because it is Vietnamese territory, Hau said, adding that it would cooperate with related agencies to guarantee Binh Minh 02's safety.