Vietnam Fisheries Society condemns China attack on boat, demands compensation

By Viet Tuan   June 13, 2020 | 05:53 pm PT
Vietnam Fisheries Society condemns China attack on boat, demands compensation
Vietnam's fishing boats operate in the waters off Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands in May 2014. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong.
The Vietnam Fisheries Society has demanded China compensate for the "inhumane" ramming and looting of a Vietnamese fishing boat this week while Vietnam's foreign ministry requested an investigation.

At around 10 a.m. on June 10, a Chinese Coast Guard patrol vessel and a speedboat chased, rammed and damaged the fishing boat owned by Nguyen Loc, 42, of Ly Son District in the central Quang Ngai Province.

Loc was on the boat and had a crew of 15 fishermen when this occurred near Lincoln Island in Vietnam's Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago.

In a letter it sent on Saturday to the Government Office, the Central Commission for External Relations, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Vietnam Fisheries Society condemned China's "inhumane actions, which threatened the life and damaged the properties of Vietnamese fishermen."

During the attack, personnel from the Chinese patrol vessel, number 4006, attacked the fishermen and forced them to sign off on a statement.

They then took away two GPS positioning machines and a fishing sonar, a coracle, ropes, and one ton of seafood after damaging the fishing boat.

In all, Loc suffered losses of around VND500 million ($21,500).

With the vessel damaged and equipment stolen, the crew could not continue and returned to shore on Friday and reported to Quang Ngai authorities.

On the same day of the attack, the Consular Department at Vietnam's Foreign Affairs Mnistry and Vietnam Embassy in Beijing had discussed the matter with China, asserting Vietnam's sovereignty rights over Hoang Sa.

The agencies demanded that China investigate and verify the incident and inform Vietnam with the results, so both sides can take further necessary actions.

The fisheries society said that "Such actions by China have occurred many times and are increasing relentlessly, causing insecurity and discontent among Vietnam’s fishermen, reducing Vietnam’s fishing production, causing serious economic losses to fishermen, infringing on Vietnam's sovereignty and violating Vietnamese and international laws," the statement read.

It called on authorities to strongly condemn and immediately stop China from obstructing and ramming Vietnamese fishing boats in Vietnam's sovereign waters, and take resolute measures against China's "unreasonable" actions.

Nguyen Viet Thang, president of the society, had said last year that Chinese vessels were ramming boats in Vietnam's traditional fishing grounds, especially around the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands.

"When Chinese boats find Vietnamese boats fishing near the islands, they sink the boats without issuing warnings as they used to," he had said.

"Every time a Vietnamese fishing boat is sunk or damaged, we would send messages to the Chinese embassy, and through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ask Chinese authorities to compensate. But we have never received any response."

On April 2, a Chinese Coast Guard vessel had rammed and sank a fishing boat from Quang Ngai while it was fishing off Woody (Phu Lam) Island in the Paracels.

Vietnam publicly condemned the act, and the U.S. and the Philippines joined in the criticism.

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.

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