The Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department on July 13 reported that a Chinese jet fighter made several circles above Vietnamese law enforcement ships operating near a Chinese oil rig that is illegally positioned in Vietnam’s waters.
In addition, China also sent another aircraft to the rig site. The aircraft looped over Vietnamese ships at an altitude of about 1,500m from 9:00 to 9:05 and then got closer to the ships from 12:30 to 12:40 at the lowest height of only 500m before leaving.
At the same time, up to 115 Chinese vessels of all kinds, including five battleships, were also present around the rig which was illegally positioned in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in early May, according to the department.
The ships aggressively prevent Vietnamese vessels from approaching the rig to perform communications work to demand China to immediately remove the rig out of Vietnam’s waters.
Facing aggressive harassment from Chinese side, Vietnam’s coast guard and fisheries surveillance ships persistently maintained their operations about 10 nautical miles from the rig.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese fishing boats still conducted normal activities about 42 nautical miles from the rig despite the violent disturbance of a large fleet of Chinese large fishing vessels backed by two coast guard ships and two logistics ones.
In early May, China illegally dispatched the rig as well as a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft to Vietnam’s waters and positioned the rig 80 miles deep into Vietnam’s 200-nautical continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.
Despite Vietnam’s protests, China expanded its scale of operation and moved the rig to a new area, 60 nautical miles deep inside Vietnam’s waters.
China ’s armed vessels have aggressively and consistently fired high-power water cannons at and intentionally rammed Vietnamese public-service and civil ships, causing damage to many boats and injuring many people on board.
On May 26, a Chinese ship even sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel while it was operating normally in its traditional fishing ground near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.