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Vietnam asks China to clarify arrest of six fishermen

Vietnam on Sunday asked the Chinese Embassy to issue an official notice on geographic coordinates of the location where Chinese patrol ships seized a Vietnamese fishing boat with six fishermen aboard three days ago.

Families cry during the agonizing wait for news of the six detained Vietnamese fishermen aboard a fishing boat seized on July 3, 2014 by Chinese patrol ships in Vietnamese waters off Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago.
Families cry during the agonizing wait for news of the six detained Vietnamese fishermen aboard a fishing boat seized on July 3, 2014 by Chinese patrol ships in Vietnamese waters off Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago.

>> China seizes Vietnamese ship with 6 fishermen off Hoang Sa

The Chinese Embassy was also requested to explain why China made the seizure and arrested the fishermen, said Luong Thanh Quang, an official from the Vietnamese Consular Department.

On Saturday, the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry instructed the Vietnamese Embassy in Beijing to urgently contact relevant Chinese agencies to verify information on this case as well as to take prompt measures to protect the detained Vietnamese fishermen.

The seized fishing boat QNg 94912 TS was owned by Vo Dat, a fisherman in Pho Thanh Commune of Duc Pho District in the central province of Quang Ngai.

Reports have said that at 8:00 am July 3, while ship QNg 94912 TS along with another local ships was operating in Vietnamese waters off Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago, many Chinese vessels, including fisheries law enforcement command vessel #3103, appeared and surrounded them.

The Chinese vessels seized QNg 94912 TS with the six fishermen aboard including captain Vo Tan Teo and towed it away.

Vietnamese fisherman Huynh Kim Co, who was on board a nearby boat, witnessed the seizure and then used his ICOM walkie-talkie to report the incident to Dat’s family and local authorities.

The seizure occurred amid escalating tensions in the East Vietnam Sea since China has illegally dispatched its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 to the Vietnamese waters near Hoang Sa in early May.

China has also deployed more than 100 vessels, including military ships, to the area to guard the drilling platform and these vessels have often rammed or fired their water cannons at the Vietnamese ships there.

Such attacks have so far injured 15 fisheries surveillance and Coast Guard officers as well as four fishermen.

Chinese vessels even crashed into and sank a fishing ship of central Da Nang City on May 26, leaving behind 10 fishermen drifting at sea before they were rescued by another Vietnamese ship.