Vietnam has demanded that China compensate Vietnamese fishers onboard a fishing boat that was rammed and sunk by a pair of Chinese coastguard ships off Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands last week.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Le Hai Binh on Wednesday strongly condemned the “inhumane” behavior by Chinese coastguards and demanded that China investigate and punish them.
“Vietnam demands that China respect international laws, not repeat similar acts, and compensate the Vietnamese fishermen,” Binh said.
On Monday, the ministry's representatives met with Chinese embassy’s representatives in Hanoi to hand over a note of protest.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Vietnamese fishing boat was towed back home in Quang Ngai Province in the central region.
Vo Van Luu, the 50-year-old captain of the boat, recalled that the incident happened at 8 a.m. last Saturday when the boat codenamed QNg 90479 TS and another codenamed QNg 95001 TS were anchoring near Da Loi (Discovery Reef) in Hoang Sa Islands.
Two Chinese coastguard ships appeared and sent two canoes towards the boats.
Luu and Khanh, the captain of the other boat, drove their boats away.
A file photo shows Vo Van Luu, the 50-year-old captain of the boat codenamed QNg 90479 TS, reporting to local authorized agency after he and four other crew members arrived in Quang Ngai Province on July 13, 2016. Photo: Hien Cu/Thanh Nien
The Chinese vessels chased and rammed into the two Vietnamese boats.
Six Chinese coastguards jumped onto Luu’s boat, forced five crewmen overboard. Water started to flow into the boat. It sank at around 11 a.m.
The crew tried to hang on to the boat and shouted for help.
The sinking incident was witnessed by the crew on Khanh’s boat about one mile away. Khanh said he did not dare to help because the two Chinese vessels were still around.
It was not until 6 p.m. that the Chinese ships left. Khanh's boat came to rescue the exhausted victims.
Luu said he lost a total VND3 billion (US$134,520) after the incident.