|The Viet Nam Fisheries Surveillance Department reported yesterday that China used up to 110 ships of various types, including military vessels, to surround Haiyang Shiyou-981, the oil rig standing illegally in Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.— Photo xaluan
HA NOI (VNS) — Vietnamese surveillance and fishing vessels continued to resist Chinese intimidation yesterday, stationing themselves at 10-11 nautical miles from the illegally placed oil rig, constantly demanding its removal.
The Viet Nam Fisheries Surveillance Department reported yesterday that China used up to 110 ships of various types, including military vessels, to surround Haiyang Shiyou-981, the oil rig standing illegally in Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
The Chinese ships prevented Vietnamese law enforcement vessels from operating in their nation's waters.
China also deployed two aircraft, including a helicopter, that flew above the rig.
Viet Nam's fisheries surveillance were hindered in their task by lines of Chinese ships of various kinds sounding their sirens, but stayed put in the area, demanding that China stops its illegal occupation of Vietnamese waters.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese boats persisted in fishing in their traditional grounds at a distance of 42-45 nautical miles from the rig, although they were circled by about 30 Chinese fishing ships, supported by a coastal guard ship and a fisheries surveillance ship, which tried to disrupt their operations and drive them away.
The Vietnamese fishing boats were supported by the nation's fisheries surveillance vessels to carry out their operations.
China seizes fishermen
Vice-chairman of the Viet Nam Fisheries Association, Vo Van Trac, has strongly protested against the seizure of a Vietnamese fishing boat and its crew of six by a Chinese naval vessel last Thursday.
According to the association, based in the central province of Quang Ngai, the Vietnamese craft, known as QNg-94912 TS, carried captain Vo Tan Teo, a resident of Duc Pho District, and five other fishermen.
They were allegedly arrested while fishing in their traditional fishing waters off the Gulf of Tonkin.
"This is the first time China has detained a Vietnamese fishing boat and arrested Vietnamese fishermen since its placement of the Haiyang-Shiyou 981 oil rig within Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone," said Trac.
He said the association strongly condemned China's illegal actions and requested it to stop its harassment and arrests.
The association also requested China to pay compensation for the losses caused to the fishermen.
It asked authorities to take measures to protect the fishermen and request their release.
Japan offers support
Meanwhile, the VIet Nam National Assembly's Committee for Defence and Security and the Japanese House of Representatives' Committee on Security have agreed to work together in enhancing the capacity of Vietnamese coast guard.
The agreement was reached during a working session held yesterday between the Chairman of the NA Committee for Defence and Security, Nguyen Kim Khoa, and the Japanese congressmen.
Khoa said he valued Japan's support in providing early support for Viet Nam in the East Sea issue.
He held out hopes that Japan along with other countries would continue supporting Viet Nam's stand to observe international law and ensure free navigation, trade and safety in the East Sea.
Chairman of the Japanese committee, Eto Akinori, spoke highly of Viet Nam's efforts in solving the dispute peacefully in line with international law.
He said Japan was willing to co-operate with the ASEAN member nations in safeguarding sea and air security and peace and maintaining maritime and aviation freedom. — VNS