Border guards in Quang Tri Province have confirmed that a Chinese steel fishing vessel rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat off Quang Tri, VTC News reported.
Senior Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Huy Tho of the Quang Tri Border Guard Command said the sinking occurred around 40 nautical miles east of Con Co Island on January 1.
The foreign boat left even as the 10 fishermen on board who had fallen into the water pleaded for help, Huynh Hop, the boat owner said.
They then tried to swim and hold to anything they could until other fishing boats arrived and rescued them.
Tho said the site where the boat was sunk is located in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone, making China’s action a serious violation of Vietnamese sovereignty.
An official from the Vietnam Directorate of Fisheries told news website VnExpress a note has been sent to Chinese authorities informing that 10 Vietnamese fishermen from Quang Ngai Province have accused a Chinese vessel of ramming and sinking their boat.
Chinese authorities have promised to investigate and sought more information about the Chinese boat, according to Ha Le, deputy chief of the department.
He said the boat sank near the Tonkin Gulf that the two countries are negotiating for demarcation, and therefore Vietnam can seek China’s cooperation in investigations even if the culprit is not Chinese.
Hop, 69, said his boat had been captained by his son Huynh Thach and had nine others on board when the Chinese boat crashed into its port at around noon last Friday.
The fishermen had been sleeping at that time.
Thach told news website VnExpress the foreign vessel had been around 30 meters in length and three times the height of the fishing boat.
After a first crash, seven of the 10 men on the fishing boat were thrown into the sea.
The foreign vessel rammed a second time, causing the boat to sink.
Thach, the captain, told VnExpress he saw Chinese characters on the foreign vessel and two foreign men sitting in it when his boat sank.
The fishing boat was salvaged and brought ashore badly damaged Saturday afternoon.