Since China’s illegal oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 was relocated to a new area in Vietnamese waters on May 27, its guarding vessels, with the support of military planes, have launched more attacks on Vietnamese ships, the Vietnam Coast Guard (VCG) said on Wednesday.
Dang Le Son, captain of Vietnam Coast Guard ship 2015, said, “During the past two days, Chinese vessels have launched more attacks and prolonged the time of each assault on Vietnamese ships.”
Yesterday, May 28, was the first day that the Chinese force launched daylong attacks on Vietnamese vessels when they were requested by the Vietnamese side to leave the Vietnamese waters in the East Sea.
A day earlier, the rig moved mainly east to a new area 23 nautical miles from the waters where it had been deployed since May 1.
Like its former location, the new placement of the rig is still within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, the VCG said.
At 5:45 am on Wednesday, three Chinese ships 22, 31 and 46102 surrounded and continuously fired their water cannons at Vietnamese fisheries surveillance ship 630, which tried its best to escape the severe attack after 20 minutes.
The same Vietnamese vessel suffered a similar attack five days ago that injured three Vietnamese fisheries surveillance officers.
After Vietnamese vessel 620 escaped from the attack, the Chinese vessels were arranged in areas southeast and southwest of the rig and often approached to intimidate Vietnamese ships.
At 1:30 pm the same day, a Chinese marine surveillance boat and a Chinese tugboat sped up toward Vietnamese vessels, which managed to avoid possible collisions.
At the same time, a Chinese fixed-wing plane hovered many rounds above the Vietnamese vessels.
Two hours later, Chinese coast guard boats surrounded a group of Vietnamese vessels and Chinese fighter jet 81220 was seen in the sky.
At about 4:00 pm, two Chinese coast guard boats and many other Chinese vessels besieged four Vietnamese ships including two Coast Guard boats.
During the siege, the two Chinese coast guard boats attempted to ram Vietnamese fisheries surveillance ship 951, which managed to escape the attack 30 minutes later.
At that time, Chinese fighter jet 81220 lowered its altitude above the Vietnamese vessels.
Similar scenes were seen until Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, Colonel Phan Duy Cuong, at the High Command of the Vietnam Coast Guard, told VnExpress newspaper that many Chinese fishing boats have recently approached and attempted to collide with Vietnamese vessels so that they could stage false scenes in which Vietnamese ships were seen ramming Chinese fishing boats.
They wanted to stage such false scenes to accuse Vietnamese ships of attacking Chinese boats, Colonel Cuong said.
Therefore, Rear Admiral Le Ke Lam, former director of the Vietnam Naval Academy, advised that the Vietnamese force in the waters should be prudent and keep calm in coping with the provocations by the aggressive Chinese ships.