Vietnamese fishermen from the central province of Quang Ngai have told authorities that a Chinese ship rammed and sank their boat in Vietnam’s waters a fortnight ago.
Dang Dung, 40, the captain of the sunken ship, reported the incident to officials after he and five other crew members were rescued by another Vietnamese fishing boat and taken ashore at the Tinh Ky Border Guard Station in Quang Ngai on Tuesday.
At 8:00 am on September 29, the Vietnamese ship QNg-90352, with six fishermen on board, was fishing off Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago when it was approached by a Chinese ship, Dung told border guard officers.
As soon as the Chinese vessel crashed into the local ship on its right side, five members of the foreign crew boarded the fishing boat and threatened the Vietnamese fishermen with electric bludgeons and knives.
The foreigners then took away two fish finders, two positioning machines, eight air hose reels, some diving devices, and a walkie-talkie, along with nearly two metric tons of aquatic products, before leaving the scene, Dung said.
After they left, Dung discovered that his ship had suffered a break through which water was leaking into his vessel.
He tried to steer the boat toward Da Loi Island, part of Hoang Sa, while attempting to contact other local fishing boats for help via an emergency internal communications system (Icom), but he failed.
Meanwhile, other crew members on board used three pumps to remove the water.
At 5:00 pm, the vessel came close to the shore near Da Loi, but water had submerged the engine hold completely and the boat gradually sank.
Two hours later, only the cabin remained above the sea along with all crew members who wore life jackets and held plastic tanks in preparation for a wait to be rescued.
At that time, Dung successfully made contact with another Vietnamese ship also from Quang Ngai, QNg-90440, which then rushed to the scene and rescued all crew members.
The victims were then transferred to another local fishing ship, QNg-096697, which took them ashore.
This is not the first time that a Chinese ship has carried out such an attack on a Vietnamese vessel inside Vietnam’s waters.
On May 26, 2014, the Chinese fishing boat #11209 also rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing ship, DNa 90152, with 10 fishers aboard in Vietnamese waters of the East Vietnam Sea.
All crew members of the ship, from the central city of Da Nang, were rescued by other Vietnamese fishing boats.
Atttacks like this have become commonplace in Vietnamese waters over the past several years.