A China Coast Guard ship fires a water cannon on a Vietnamese ship this week. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Coast Guard
A fishing boat limped home to the south central province of Quang Ngai, Friday, after being attacked by two Chinese ships off the coast of Vietnam's Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago two days earlier, Vietnam News Agency reported.
Vessel number QNg 96416-TS is registered to Nguyen Van Loc in the island district of Ly Son. Despite heavy damage to the boat's sides and cabin, Loc and his 16 man crew managed to pilot it home.
The crew set off for Hoang Sa on April 29. On Wednesday morning, while fishing some 15 nautical miles south of the island of Linh Con a Chinese warship appeared, fired warning flares and signaled for Loc’s boat to stop.
Loc said his boat had to carefully pivot to avoid the Chinese vessel, which continued to pursue them.
Finally the Chinese vessel drew alongside his fishing boat while soldiers on board hurled heavy objects, including hammers and large bolts, at Loc's boat, smashing all of the cabin windows.
The attack occurred some 70 nautical miles east of the site where China illegally positioned a giant mobile oil rig inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone, last week.
Loc recalled that after nearly four hours of chasing his boat, the Chinese warship called in a vessel belonging to the Chinese Fisheries Administration Force. The second ship swiftly rammed Loc's vessel, puncturing its starboard side and the wall of the cabin, before departing.
The Chinese warship continued to pursue Loc and his crew as water began pouring into the hole. Luckily, the crew managed to make enough emergency repairs to get the boat back home.
Pham Thi Huong, vice chairwoman of Ly Son District People’s Committee, said Friday that the Ly Son border guards reported the Chinese attack on the Vietnamese fishing boat and estimated the damage at around VND300 million (US$14,280).
Recently, numerous fishing boats from Ly Son Island have been chased and harassed by Chinese ships illegally operating in the waters around Hoang Sa.