Vietnam demands compensation from China for sinking fishing boat

By Huyen Le   March 21, 2019 | 06:47 pm PT
Vietnam demands compensation from China for sinking fishing boat
A Vietnamese fishing boat from central Vietnam is sunken by a Chinese vessel near the Paracel Islands on May 26, 2014. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong
Vietnam wants China to take action against the Chinese vessel that sank a Vietnamese fishing boat and pay compensation to the fishermen.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday handed over a diplomatic note to representatives from the Chinese embassy in Hanoi to protest the Chinese vessel’s action this month of using a water cannon to drive off the Vietnamese fishing boat off the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago, according to an official statement made by the ministry on Thursday.

On March 6 Chinese vessel numbered 44101 rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat while it was fishing in the Da Loi (Discovery) Reef off the Paracel Archipelago, according to the National Committee for Incident, Natural Disaster Response and Search and Rescue.

The boat from the central province of Quang Ngai sank and the five fishermen on board clung on to it until they were rescued by another Vietnamese fishing boat.

The fishermen said after returning to shore that the Chinese vessel chased after them, sprayed water cannons and forced their boat into a reef. They suffered estimated losses of VND3 billion ($129,200).

The ministry’s consular department said China’s action infringed on Vietnam's sovereignty over the Paracel Archipelago and endangered the lives and properties of Vietnamese fishermen.

It demanded that the embassy should inform China’s Foreign Ministry and other relevant authorities so that they take strict action against the Chinese vessel and refrain from repeating such acts in future.

It also demanded proper compensation from China for the damage caused to the Vietnamese fishermen.

The Vietnam Fisheries Society recently called on the Government Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government agencies to ensure China pays compensation to the Vietnamese fishermen for sinking their boat.

China seized the Paracel Islands from South Vietnam by force in 1974, and has since been illegally occupying them.

In 2012 it built the so-called Sansha City with Woody Island as its seat, and has since built a runway capable of handling military aircraft and other supporting structures.

The so-called city also extends to a number of reefs in Vietnam's Spratly (Truong Sa) Islands that China seized by force in 1988 as well as the Scarborough Shoal, which is claimed by the Philippines.

In 2014 China brought an oil rig, Haiyang Shiyou 981, and installed it in waters off the Paracels, changing the status quo in the waters. Soon after that Chinese ships chased after, fired water cannons at and rammed many Vietnamese fishing vessels near the islands.

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