Chinese vessels sink Vietnamese fishing boat near Paracel Islands

By Nguyen Dong   July 10, 2016 | 06:05 am PT
Chinese ships even stopped another Vietnamese fishing boat from rescuing the fishermen at sea.

A fishing boat from Vietnam's central province of Quang Ngai has been sunk by Chinese ships near the Paracel Islands, said an official from Vietnam’s Zone II Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in the central city of Da Nang on Sunday.

“A boat with five people on board was sunk by Chinese vessels at 11:00 a.m. on July 9. They survived by hanging onto the sunken vessel and were finally rescued by another Quang Ngai fishing boat,” the official said, adding that the fishermen are on their way back to shore.

A report from Quang Ngai’s Committee on Natural Disaster Preparedness, Search and Rescue sent to the National Steering Committee for Search and Rescue and Vietnam Fisheries Resources Surveillance said two fishing boats, one run by captain Huynh Van Khanh, 31, and the other by captain Vo Van Luu, 50, headed out to fish near the Paracel Islands on July 2. When they arrived they were hounded by two Chinese speedboats. At noon on July 9, two Chinese vessels, numbers 46102 and 56103, rammed and sank Luu’s boat and prevented Khanh’s vessel from being able to approach and rescue the five fishermen at 7:20 p.m. the same day.

The five fishermen are in stable conditions and in contact with Quang Ngai’s Border Guard.

A Vietnamese fishing boat sunk by Chinese vessels in May 2015. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong

A Vietnamese fishing boat sunk by Chinese vessels in May 2015. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong

China used force to take control of the Paracel Islands from Vietnam in 1974 after a naval clash, which has been strongly opposed by the latter. Vietnam claims indisputable sovereignty over the islands and has resolutely asked China to return the archipelago to the Southeast Asian nation.

An unidentified vessel sank a Vietnamese fishing boat at night on May 3 in the waters off the Paracel Islands, leaving 34 fishermen floating at sea for hours. On March 6 and 18, two Vietnamese fishing boats operating around the waters were attacked and robbed by Chinese marine surveillance ship 46101. At least three more Vietnamese fishing boats were also attacked in March, according to fishermen.

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