Vietnamese fishermen seriously wounded after encounter with foreign boat: captain

By Thanh Nguyen   July 26, 2017 | 10:56 am GMT+7

Indonesia has denied claims that its navy was responsible for the attack.

Two Vietnamese fishermen were flown to a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday after being shot three days before in a high seas standoff.

Doctors at Cho Ray Hospital in the city said the two men have regained consciousness but are being kept under surveillance.

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One of the fishermen who was shot on Saturday night. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen

Nguyen Thanh Ngoc, captain of the boat from the central province of Binh Dinh, said he and his five crew were fishing about 100 nautical miles southeast of Con Dao Island off Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province on Saturday night when a yet-to-be-identified foreign boat approached them.

Ngoc, 34, said he saw around 30 people in military uniforms screaming before they opened fire.

“All six of us hit the deck. I had to duck down while I was steering the boat away,” Ngoc said, still trembling as he recalled the incident.

He said the foreign boat chased after them and continued shooting for more than two hours.

“Then I realized my brother and another of the crew had been injured. They were bleeding all over the boat. Fortunately when I turned to check the foreign boat had stopped chasing us,” he said.

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Bullets found on the boat. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Ngoc

Ngoc sailed on to Con Dao, where an aircraft picked up the two injured fishermen.

He said the incident caused damage worth more than VND300 million ($13,200) to his boat.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday afternoon said authorities are trying to identify the foreign boat.

“Vietnam strongly objects to the inhumane treatment and the use or threat of violence against Vietnamese fishermen,” the ministry’s Consular Department said in statement.

A Reuters report on Monday cited a Binh Dinh search and rescue unit as blaming the Indonesian navy for the shooting, but the latter has refuted the claims.

Indonesia is not a party to the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, known in Vietnam as the East Sea, which has overlapping claims from Brunei, China, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan.