The owner of a Vietnamese fishing boat which sunk after a collision with a Thai vessel January 2 in between Vietnam and Thailand has rejected accusations made by Thai authorities that his boat violated Thai waters.
The owner of the (boat) CM 99219, Ho Minh Tuan of the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau, said he would file a complaint against the wrongful accusation.
Tuan said his boat was on the way back to shore and was on the international sea line and thus did not violate Thailand's sea territory.
"It is unreasonable to say my boat attempted to crash their [royal navy] ship," Tuan said. "Because my boat was made of wood while theirs was made of steel and several times bigger. They were chasing after me, how could my captain dare to crash them?"
Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi said on January 12 that information was received from the Thai Royal Navy saying they intended on keeping the Vietnamese boat for violating Thai sea.
"There was a collision between the Vietnamese boat and the Thai Royal Navy's ship 542 and the Vietnamese boat sank in the incident.
"The Thai ship rescued ten Vietnamese fishermen onboard while captain Nguyen Van Hieu was rescued by a [Vietnamese] boat and was taken ashore [in Vietnam]," Nghi quoted information from the Thai Royal Navy which said the boat and ten fishermen were safe and being detained as they await trial in Trat Province.
"The Vietnamese Embassy in Thailand is facilitating their working with local authorities to verify the case and protect Vietnamese citizens," he said.
Colonel Pham Huy Phong of Ca Mau Border Guards has said Tuan's boat was hit by a "strange" ship and sank on January 2 and the captain Hieu was rescued by a private fishing boat of Kien Giang Province, also in the Mekong Delta.
Hieu said the strange ship hit them straight and his boat sank immediately with 11 people onboard. He said the colliding boat threw life buoys but he was unclear how many people were rescued.
After that, the ship took rescued fishermen and headed towards the overlapping sea between Thailand and Cambodia.
Tuan said he was poor and is unable to pay ransom for his boat and that the fishermen, all from Ca Mau, were also poor.