Vietnam sends patrol ships to drive Chinese fishing vessels from territorial waters

By Nguyen Dong, Vuong Anh   April 21, 2016 | 12:17 pm GMT+7

China has deployed a large fishing fleet in the mouth of the Gulf of Tonkin near Vietnamese waters, according to a report announced by the Vietnam Fisheries Resources Surveillance Force on April 20. 


A Vietnamese surveillance ship on duty. Photo: Nguyen Dong

The Vietnam Fisheries Resources Surveillance Force has dispatched two ships to patrol and drive away any Chinese fishing boats that try to enter Vietnamese territory. The force said it will “resolutely” deal with any fishing boats trespassing in the country’s waters.

Director of the force Luu Van Huy told VnExpress that the waters from the mouth of the Gulf of Tonkin inwards have been delimited and are under the sovereignty of Vietnam. The area outside is still under negotiations with China, and foreign fishing vessels are allowed to operate there according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea from 1982.

“If we catch any Chinese fishing vessels entering the delimited waters and violating Vietnam’s sovereignty, Vietnam's marine law enforcement will drive them away and make a record immediately,” Huy said. Besides the two ships that have been sent to deal with the situation, many other Vietnamese surveillance ships are enforcing the law in the Gulf of Tonkin as part of a planned annual patrol, he added.

In addition to the surveillance force, border and coast guards are on patrol to support fishermen. Since the beginning of the year, and especially in the first half of April, these forces have caught a number of Chinese fishing boats violating Vietnam's sovereignty.

“We will calculate how many vessels have been recorded or driven away for violating our waters or attacking fishermen," Huy said, adding that the fisheries inspection force has a constant presence at sea to support Vietnamese fishermen.

Fishermen in Thua Thien - Hue Province previously reported that Chinese vessels had damaged their boats while they were out at sea. Colonel Le Van Phuong, deputy commander of the Border Guard of Thua Thien - Hue province, said he had received information about Chinese vessels destroying local fishermen's equipment while they were fishing in Vietnam's sovereign waters.

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