China’s oil drilling platform Haiyang Shiyou 981, which was deployed illicitly in Vietnamese waters for two and a half months starting in early May 2014, is moving near Vietnam waters and heading to the Indian Ocean, the Vietnam Coast Guard reported.
The High Command of Vietnam Coast Guard last Saturday said that the oil rig, with the escort of tugboats and transport boats, was moving in the East Sea near the Vietnamese waters.
The platform was going from north to south and passed the 15th parallel, the source said, adding that Vietnam’s coast guard boats and fisheries surveillance ships are monitoring the movements of the rig to take measures to cope with it in time when necessary.
The source, however, also said the oil drilling rig is normally moving in the international waters, heading for the Indian Ocean.
Initial information says that the facility is being towed to the Indian Ocean to implement exploratory drilling under a contract signed between China and a Southeast Asian country.
In the period from early May to July 16, China deployed the same drilling platform to an area within Vietnam’s economic exclusive zone and continental shelf for drilling to explore oil and gas.
The rig was escorted by more than 110 vessels including warships, along with many planes including jet fighters. These Chinese ships often rammed and fired water cannons on Vietnam’s coastguard boats or fisheries surveillance ships that were trying to ask the rig and its escort ships to leave the Vietnamese waters.
The encroaching ships also attacked Vietnamese fishing boats in the same ways.
Such attacks injured 15 fisheries surveillance officers together with two fishermen, as well as damaged 27 boats belonging to Vietnam’s marine law enforcement and Coast Guard forces and seven local fishing boats.
Despite strong objections from Vietnam, China illegally maintained the rig and its escort boats in the Vietnamese waters for 75 days until early July 16, 2014, when it moved the platform and its guarding vessels out of the Vietnamese waters, announcing that it had completed oil exploration activities there.