|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh. — VNA/VNS Photo Pham Kien
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam condemns and strongly objects to the inhuman treatment of, use of or threat to use force against its fishermen, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh said in the wake of a recent attack on a Vietnamese fishing boat.
The spokesman responded to reporters' question yesterday regarding an attack on a fishing boat from the central province of Quang Ngai coded QNg 95861 TS in the vicinity of Viet Nam's Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago, claiming the life of a Vietnamese crew member.
He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is liaising closely with relevant agencies and has ordered Viet Nam's representative agencies in countries bordering the East Sea to promptly clarify issues related to that serious incident.
"In any circumstances, we condemn and strongly protest against the inhuman treatment of, use of or threat to use force against Vietnamese fishermen," he stressed.
Binh also took this occasion to offer the deepest condolences to the bereaved family.
A fishing vessel that carried the body of a murdered Vietnamese fisherman from the Spratly archipelago safely returned to the central Sa Ky Port in Quang Ngai Province yesterday.
Boat Captain Bui Van Cu said his vessel came under attack last Saturday in the vicinity of the Alicia Annie Reef within the waters of Viet Nam's Spratly archipelago.
There were only two persons aboard when the assault took place - Captain Cu and Truong Van Bay, a 42 year-old ship worker - as most fishermen had already left on smaller boats to fish.
Cu said his vessel was boarded by several men from two smaller boats who were armed with at least one automatic rifle. As Bay was trying to cut the anchor loose so the fishing vessel could escape, he was shot twice by the attackers and died instantly.
After seeing his friend gunned down, Captain Cu disarmed one of the attackers and pushed him overboard into the sea. The two other attackers promptly left on their boats.
The captain assembled the rest of his crew and immediately headed back to shore. He said they have seen vessels from other countries on numerous occasions near the reef, but it was the first time they were attacked.
The crew handed over four bullet cases to local authorities, which they had collected after the assault. The incident is under further investigation.
The Viet Nam Fisheries Society on Sunday sent their condolences to family and friends of Bay and strongly condemned the horrendous act committed by the attackers. They called on Vietnamese fishermen to maintain communication among their vessels, remain calm and support each other while fishing off-shore. They also urged the authority to take additional measures to better protect Vietnamese fishermen at sea. — VNS