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Trawler captain: Chinese vessels out to kill

Update: May, 31/2014 - 11:00
The wreck of sinking fishing trawler DNa TS 90152 was hoisted to the dock of Tho Quang shipyard, seven days after it was rammed by Chinese boats near the Hoang Sa (Paracel) islands of Viet Nam. — VNS Photo Hoai Nam

by Hoai Nam

DA NANG (VNS) —  "It was brutal and inhuman, the piratic action of wild beasts."

This was how the captain of a Vietnamese fishing trawler, Dang Van Nhan, described the sinking of his vessel, DNNa 952, by Chinese boats near the Hoang Sa (Paracel) islands on Monday.

Ten crew members from the trawler were returned home safely to Da Nang yesterday.

"The Chinese crew left myself and the nine crew members swimming in the sea and they did not try to rescue us," Nhan said.

The fishermen were rescued by another Vietnamese trawler. They were towed back home in their half submerged vessel by Vietnamese Marine Police and Fishing Surveillance crews.

Captain Nhan said his vessel was fishing 17 nautical miles from the illegal Chinese oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 when a Chinese steel ship coded 11209 rammed into it from behind, causing it to topple and sink.

Huynh Thi Nhu Hoa, owner of sinking fishing trawler DNa TS 90152, in Da Nang city expresses her anger against illegal collision of Chinese on her boat near the Hoang Sa (Paracel) islands of Viet Nam.

Nhan, 41, and his crew fell or jumped into the sea, but were rescued by Vietnamese fishing vessels in the area. He said the incident happened at about 4am on May 26.

"We were trawling for fish when the Chinese ships passed us on the right side. The crew threw bottles at us and shouted loudly," Nhan said.

"We warned our men to prepare for a brutal collision, but a Chinese vessel travelling at higher speed rammed the rear left of our boat, capsizing it."

"It was brutal, inhuman - the piratic action of wild beasts without human manners. They intentionally set out to slaughter us. It was not an accidental collision.

"It was obvious the Chinese vessel was not for fishing and its crew were not fishermen. They did not even seem to have nets or fishing gear on board," Nhan said.

Le Van Ha, a crew member on the Vietnamese trawler, said the Chinese were heartless.

"I have been working in the Hoang Sa islands of Viet Nam since I was a teenager, but it was the first time I've seen an intentional collision," Ha said.

"They were not fishermen, but butchers on fishing boats. We have met many fishermen from different countries, but none of them have ever acted like that.

"Real fishermen will rescue crew members from any ship if they see them in danger," Ha said.

A 10-crew-member of sinking fishing trawler DNa TS 90152 return home safety three days after the attack. They were rescued by Vietnamese fishermen and their boat were towed back home in their half submerged vessel by Vietnamese Fishing Surveillance crews. — VNS Photo Hoi Nam

"The Chinese wrecked our trawler, destroyed our assets, fishing tools and nets. We lost everything."

The Vietnamese crew now face months without work.

Huynh Thi Nhu Hoa, 37, owner of the Vietnamese trawler, said she lost VND5 billion (US$235,000).

"We can't fish as our boat is almost a complete wipe-out. I also have to pay interest on a VND1.5 billion loan as well as salaries for the crew," she said.

"A new boat costs around VND5 billion ($235,000) and takes six months to build. We will miss the usual bumper catch of tuna in summertime.".

Hoa said that she had received VND800 million ($38,000) from donors from Da Nang and people throughout the country.

Captain Nhan and his crew said they would not stop fishing around the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes, despite the attack. "The islands belong to Viet Nam. It's been the fishing ground of many generations of Vietnamese fishermen." he said. — VNS

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