Chinese ships tasked with protecting an illegally-positioned oil rig continued their aggressive assaults on Vietnamese law enforcement ships operating in their national waters on July 14.
The fleet of 108-112 Chinese ships included five military ships.
Members of this armada sped as close as 100-200 meters from the Vietnamese fleet, blaring sirens in an attempt to obstruct their approach to the rig, the Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department reported.
Vietnamese fishing boats operating in their traditional fishing grounds 42-45 nautical miles from the rig, have been harassed by Chinese fishing ships backed by Coast Guard ships.
Vietnamese fisheries surveillance vessels have tried to avoid clashes while keeping a distance of about 10 – 11 nautical miles from the rig to demand China immediately withdraw from Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
They have also kept a close watch on Vietnamese fishing boats to ensure their safety.
In early May 2014, China illegally dispatched the Haiyang Shiyou-981 rig as well as a large fleet of armed vessels into Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone.
Despite relentless protests from Vietnam, China expanded the scale of its operation and moved the rig a further 60 nautical miles into Vietnamese waters.
On May 26, Chinese ship 11209 sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel that was operating normally in its traditional fishing grounds near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.
Video credit: Vietnam Television