Fishermen seek compensation after another assault by China in East Sea

By Vuong Duc Anh   March 15, 2016 | 05:37 am PT
Fishermen in the central province of Quang Nam have called on authorities to speak out on their behalf and demand compensation from China following an unprovoked attack by a Chinese ship on a Vietnamese fishing boat on March 6.

The attackers cut the fishing nets before leaving.

In a report sent to the Vietnam Central Fisheries Society, Quang Nam fishermen accused three Chinese marine ships of illegally seizing and destroying equipment on a Vietnamese fishing boat, calling the act “nonsensical and unethical”. They are demanding authorities to condem the unlawful assault and seek compensation for their losses.

“We ask the People’s Committee to consider our situation and provide support so that we can resume production and set sail again to reaffirm our sovereignty over Paracel Islands,” the report said.

Quang Nam Fisheries Society also asked Vietnam's marine agencies to increase patrols to ensure the safety of fishermen working in Vietnam’s territorial waters.

According to the report, on March 6, Vietnamese fishing boat 635CV, captained by Vo Quang Thai, was attacked by three Chinese marine vessels off the Paracel Islands. They were approached by 11 men in speed boats who boarded their boat, destroyed its communications equipment, slashed their fishing nets wand stole nearly a ton of fish, oil and rations before leaving.

“The attackers use electrical whips and batons to smash the equipment and force us to move towards the front of the ship,” the report said. The fishermen said the ships were Chinese marine vessels, one of which carried the number 46101.

Among the Chinese men who boarded the boat, two were able to speak Vietnamese. After searching the boat and finding their catch, the men "drew up" a report accusing the boat of "illegally" operating in Chinese waters and pressed the Vietnamese fishermen to sign it. They also threatened to sink the boat by ramming it if it did not leave the area.

Vietnam estimated the damages from the assault to be about VND300 million ($13,000). None of the fishermen suffered injuries. Authorities in Quang Nam are investigating the incident.

Vo Quang Thai, the captain of 635CV, previouslt received a commendation from local authorities for his contribution to protecting the nation's sovereignty in 2014 when China moved its mobile oil rig into Vietnam’s territorial waters.

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