Vietnam on Monday rescued nine fishermen who were stuck on the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago for two weeks after being released by China on October 11.
The fishermen from the central province of Quang Ngai were expected to return home this afternoon, officials said, adding that currently they were healthy and receiving attention from a group of doctors and health workers onboard.
Captain Mai Phung Luu and his crews were illegally detained by China on September 11 when they were fishing in Vietnamese waters off the coast of Hoang Sa. China accused them of using explosives in their fishing efforts and asked for 70,000 yuan (US$10,461) in fines.
However, following Vietnam's demands that it free the fishermen and their boat unconditionally, China said it had released them on October 11.
But, since then, the fishermen disappeared for nearly one week. Luu called his family on October 16, saying they were staying on the archipelago's Tru Cau Island after their boat was damaged by a big wave on their way home.
Luu said they drifted for five days before being rescued by a Chinese boat which later towed them to the island.