Ten Vietnamese fishermen who were rescued after their fishing boat was half sunk in an attack by two Chinese vessels in Vietnam’s waters returned to Ly Son Island off central Quang Ngai Province on Thursday.
These fishermen were welcomed by their relatives, hundreds of local residents, authorities, health workers, and the owner of the boat DNa 90152 from the central city of Da Nang, which half-sank after being rammed by one Chinese ship on May 26.
After these victims got on the wharf of the island, doctors examined their injuries and gave them proper care.
The half-sunk boat, which was heavily damaged, was also towed to Ly Son by a tugboat.
The provincial Vietnam Fatherland Front gave each fisherman VND1.5 million (US$71), while the People’s Committee of Thanh Khe District and the High Command of Vietnam Coast Guard each offered VND20 million ($946).
Dang Van Nhan, the boat’s captain, told everybody at the reception about what had happened to him and his crew members on May 26.
The attack by the Chinese vessels occurred at about 4:30 pm that day, when the boat was fishing in an area about 17 nautical miles south of the area where China’s oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 had been placed illegally since May 1 before it was relocated to a new location also within Vietnam’s waters on May 27, Nhan said.
Suddenly, two Chinese fishing boats came from nowhere approached Nhan’s boat on both sides, and one of them – vessel 11209 – then crashed into the right side of the vessel’s stern, breaking most of it.
Nhan immediately sped up to escape, but the Chinese boat continued to ram it once again, this time on the left side of the stern.
The hard hit capsized the local ship, throwing eight of the ten members into the sea, Nhan said, adding that the two other fishermen were in the cabin at that time.
Luckily, the stuck fishermen managed to get out of the cabin from the openings in the cabin’s glass windows that had broken during the attack, Nhan said.
The Chinese vessels left the scene after committing the crime, leaving all the Vietnamese fishermen who tried to cling on to a thúng chai, a round basket boat made of a bamboo mesh, which had also fallen from their fishing boat into the sea.
About 20 minutes later, another Vietnamese ship, also from Da Nang, detected these victims and saved all of them.
At 11:00 pm the same day, Vietnamese fisheries surveillance boat VT57 arrived at the scene. It then took the victims and towed their half-sunk ship to Ly Son.
The ship was too damaged to repair, said Nguyen Tai Luan, deputy secretary of the Ly Son District Party Committee, who suggested that the boat be kept at a historical museum that will be built under a project of Quang Ngai Province.
Colonel Tran Van Dung, political commissar of the Vietnam Coast Guard Zone 2, said, “The attack by the two Chinese ships on the Vietnamese fishing ship was very aggressive and inhumane. It is likely that no other countries in the world can commit such an act as China.”
China on May 27 relocated its illegal ship to a new location that is still within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
It has dispatched the rig to Vietnam’s waters since May 1 and maintained the platform there despite strong opposition from Vietnam, which has repeatedly demanded that China remove the platform from the waters immediately.