(Presented by Mr. Ha Le– Deputy Chief of the Fishery Control Administration at the International Press Conference on 5 June 2014 in Hanoi)
Upon detecting that China’s installation of the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 has violated Viet Nam’s sovereignty and seriously disrupted the daily legitimate fishing operation of Vietnamese fishermen at their traditional fishing grounds in Viet Nam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands, the Vietnamese Fishery Control and Coast Guard forces have been dispatched to the site. The Vietnamese forces broadcasted reassertions of the Vietnamese sovereignty, demanded China withdraw the oil rig from the Vietnamese waters, performed their maritime law enforcement duties and assisted the Vietnamese fishermen.
The Chinese ships surrounded, intimidated, rammed and attacked the Vietnamese Fishery Control boats with water cannon and hard objects.
Nineteen out of twenty Vietnamese Fishery Control boats at the site were rammed and/or attacked with water cannon by the Chinese vessels. As the result, twelve Vietnamese Fishery Control officers were injured and various equipment and properties on board (deck-guard, safety rail, bridge, bridge glass-window, navigation radar, compass, etc.) were heavily damaged.
More dangerously, Chinese ships intimidated and sank Vietnamese fishing boats legally operating in the Vietnamese traditional fishing grounds.
Now is the peak of fishing season – the major harvest of the year for Vietnamese fishermen. Therefore, fishermen from many localities, particularly those in the Central region of Viet Nam, have been persistently stationed at sea to fish in their traditional grounds.
Since 7 May 2014, during their normal operation within the traditional fishing grounds in Viet Nam’s Hoang Sa archipelago, twelve Vietnamese fishing boats and the fishermen have been obstructed by Chinese law enforcement forces and fishing vessels and suffered from property damage and violence. The details are as follows:
On 7th May 2014: Fishing boat QNg-96416-TS, while fishing in the sea area approximately 15 nautical miles South from the Linh Con (Lincoln) island (of the Hoang Sa archipelago) and 70 nautical miles East of the Chinese oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981, was chased, fired flares and thrown hammers and bolts at by Chinese warship 1241. A Chinese fishery administration vessel also chased and rammed straight into the rear of fishing boat QNg-96416-TS.
On 12th May 2014: fishing boat QTr-91119-TS of Mr. Bui Xuan Tan and fishing boatQTr-96868-TS of Mr. Vo Van Huu from Quang Tri province, while operating in the Hoang Sa archipelago area, were chased after by Chinese vessels; their fishing nets were damaged, fishing instruments and catch on-deck were seized.
On May 16th 2014: Fishing boat QNg-90205-TS operating in Viet Nam’s Hoang Sa sea area was attacked by Chinese Fishery Administration ship 306. Two fishermen, namely Nguyen Huyen Le Anh (aged 30) and Nguyen Tan Hai (aged 24), suffered from serious injuries after being beaten up by staff on Chinese Fishery Administration ships. Chinese fishery administration officers also destroyed the Vietnamese fishermen’s properties, stole their fishing tools and catch.
On 17th May 2014: fishing boat QNg-96011-TS operating in the Hoang Sa sea area (31 nautical miles from Tri Ton (Triton) island) was attacked by Chinese law enforcement ship 21102. On-deck tools, including boat baskets, bridge glass-window, and aero-tube, were damaged; several tools (fish-finder, I-com and positioning device) and 400kg of catch were seized.
A shocking incident occurred on 26th May 2014: Fishing boat DNa-90152-TS with 10 fishermen on board while operating at 17 nautical miles from the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 was rammed and sunk by Chinese vessel 11209. It was obviously a deliberate act as the Chinese vessel 11209 had been chasing, smashing the Vietnamese ship until the latter flipped over. Worse still, Chinese ships attempted to prevent Vietnamese ships from rescuing the 10 Vietnamese fishermen of the sunken boat. However, the Vietnamese ships finally managed to rescue the Vietnamese fishermen. The fishing boat DNa-90152-TS has been pulled back onto land for repair.
The Vietnamese Fishery Control vessels have exercised self-restraint and avoided collision with Chinese ships. The Vietnamese vessels have been determined to peacefully broadcast reassertions of Vietnamese sovereignty and demand China withdraw from the Vietnamese waters, and at the same time, working closely with other Vietnamese competent authorities to protect the Vietnamese fishermen.