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Jun 13, 2020 / 17:17

Vietnam demands China to investigate ramming of Vietnamese fishing boat

On June 10, a Chinese vessel assaulted Vietnamese fishermen, leaving the boat capsized at sea.

Hanoi has demanded Beijing to investigate the ramming of a Vietnamese fishing boat when the fishermen were fishing within Vietnam’s waters in the South China Sea.

 Location of the incident. Image: the South China Sea Chronicle Initiative

Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang of Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said the ministry's Consular Department and the Embassy of Vietnam in Beijing on June 10 engaged with the Chinese side to demand an official investigation and reports on the case for further settlement.

The Vietnamese mission affirmed Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago, Hang said on June 13 in response to Tuoi Tre newspaper’s questions.

“The MOFA has asked related agencies to work with the victims to clarify the case in order to make necessary engagement with Chinese officials to protect the fishermen’ legitimate rights,” Hang added.

On June 12, fishing boat QNg 96416TS with 16 crew on board who are from Vietnam’s central province of Quang Ngai reached the mainland after a stormy journey troubled by Chinese vessels.

The case

 Vietnamese fishermen reach the mainland. Photo: Tuoi Tre

On June 10, while operating near the Paracel islands, the fishing boat was rammed by a Chinese vessel near Lincoln island, a rock in the Paracels that is occupied by China, which seized the Paracels from Vietnam in 1974.

The boat’s 42-year-old captain Nguyen Loc told Vietnamese authorities in Quang Ngai province that Chinese ship numbered 4006 chased and then rammed his boat, forcing all of the 16 crew to jump overboard, Tuoi Tre reported.

People on the Chinese ship seized one ton of fish, a global positioning system, and other equipment worth VND500 million (US$21,500) in total from the Vietnamese boat.

 The fishermen are under quarantine after making contact with the Chinese crew. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Captain Loc was quote by Tuoi Tre as saying that the Chinese crew kicked and beat him when he refused to sign a document for them. They then departed.

“When boarding the Chinese vessel, I was demanded to sign a piece of paper or they would beat me. When they struck, I noticed that the large ship (4006) had two big guns ready. I was kicked 30 or 40 times, and punched about 20 times”, local media quoted Loc.

The Vietnamese fishermen managed to return to shore with help from other Vietnamese fishing boats.

Lincoln Island is roughly 25 nautical miles southeast of Woody Island, the largest military base in the Paracels and one of China’s main administrative centers in the South China Sea.

Satellite imagery showed a number of Chinese Coast Guard ships in its harbor, but it’s unknown if any of them chased away the Vietnamese fishing boat, according to RFI.

This is the second time in less than two months that Vietnamese fishermen were attacked by Chinese vessels.