A Vietnamese fishing boat was rammed and sunk by Chinese vessels Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands in the East Sea on Saturday, an official has said.
The five-member crew of the boat was being brought back to shore, Pham Truong Tho, Vice Chairman of Quang Ngai Province's People's Committee, said on Sunday.
Nguyen Van Truc, a radio operator at Binh Chau Commune of Quang Ngai, told Thanh Nien that the boat of captain Vo Van Luu was anchoring near Da Loi (Discovery Reef) when it was chased and sunk by two Chinese vessels named 46102 and 56103 at around 11 a.m.
The sinking was witnessed by the crew on board another Vietnamese fishing boat about 1 mile away, who reported the incident to Truc.
According to Truc, Huynh Van Khanh, that boat's captain, said he could see the five crew members of the sunk ship hanging on to its bow.
However, Khanh said he dared not come for help because the two Chinese vessels were still around.
It wasn't until after 6 p.m. when the Chinese ships left that Khanh's boat could rescue the exhausted victims.
Nguyen Thi Nang, captain Luu's wife, said Chinese vessels had harassed and robbed his boat twice in 2014 and 2015, causing losses of more than VND634 million.