Chinese vessels increase presence near Vietnamese shoal

By Mai Thanh Hai, Thanh Nien News

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A Chinese fishing boat is seen near oil rig DK1. Photo: Mai Thanh Hai A Chinese fishing boat is seen near oil rig DK1. Photo: Mai Thanh Hai

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Vietnamese naval officers said more Chinese vessels posing as fishing boats had approached Ba Ke (Bombay Castle) Shoal in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province in Vietnam’s southern continental shelf.
Thanh Nien recently visited DK1 rig in Ba Ria-Vung Tau and spotted many Chinese fishing boats around it.
An official on board the platform said the boats were actually there for spying, never cast nets and always shooed away Vietnamese boats that came close.
Vietnamese fishermen in the area told Thanh Nien there has been a sudden increase in the number of Chinese vessels anchoring around the shoal. Since December dozens of vessels have been spotted there despite rough seas.
Duong Minh Thuan, the captain of a Vietnamese fishing boat, said Chinese boats moved around in the day, but at night they gathered together and turned on all the lights to appear like a “floating city.”
The boats always shooed away, or even rammed, Vietnamese boats that approached them, he said.
They sometimes approached the oil rig, which is guarded by Vietnam's Navy officers.
They would then turn off the lights and anchor very close to the platform, despite being warned by the guards. They would only leave when Vietnamese fisheries surveillance vessels show up, fishermen said.
Two Chinese vessels anchor near Vietnam's DK1 rig. Photo: Mai Thanh Hai 

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