Thirteen Vietnamese fishermen detained by China recently have been set free, according to the Vietnamese Embassy in China.
“They are on their way home on a fishing boat of Quang Binh coded QB93256 TS,” Luong Thanh Quang, Assistant to chief of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ General Consulate Department, told reporters on July 15.
The fishermen consist of seven crewmembers of QB 93256 TS boat from Quang Binh Province and six of QNg 94912 TS vessel from Quang Ngai Province.
The Chinese side confiscated the Quang Ngai boat and fishing tools of the two vessels, the official said, adding that Vietnamese representative agencies in China continue to work with the Chinese side to solve the case.
Chinese forces arrested the six fishermen aboard a fishing boat from Quang Ngai Province on July 3. China's Foreign Ministry confirmed the arrest on July 4, claiming that the fishermen had "broken the law" by working in Chinese territorial waters 7 nautical miles south of Hainan Island.
But Vietnamese authorities said the Chinese arrested the Quang Ngai fishermen in disputed waters near the Gulf of Tonkin.
On July 5, the Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked its embassy in Beijing to work with concerned Chinese agencies to verify the information and take necessary measures to protect the fishermen.
The arrest was the first since China illegally deployed the giant oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 in Vietnam’s 200-nautical-mile continental shelf and exclusive economic zone in early May.