Translated from reports by Tuoi Tre Online and Thanh Nien newspaper
Translator: Nguyễn Trịnh Đôn
Photos taken by Vietnamese fishermen at the scene during the incident
China’s ship denounced for sinking Quảng Ngãi’s fishing boat in the Paracels
April 3rd, 2020
TTO –– The Viet Nam Fisheries Society (VNFS) condemns and denounces the behaviour of a China’s ship for sinking a Quảng Ngãi province’s fishing boat in Viet Nam’s Paracel Islands area. VNFS also asks the Vietnamese authorities to demand compensation from China for the damages.
On Friday afternoon (April 3rd), VNFS sent a report on the sinking of a Quảng Ngãi province’s fishing boat by a China’s ship in the Parecel Islands’ waters to the Viet Nam’s Government Office, the Foreign Relations Commission of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development.
VNFS vehemently comdemns and denounces these inhumane acts by the Chinese ship which put the lives of Vietnamese fishermen at extreme risk and damaged their properties while they were fishing in the waters of Viet Nam’s Paracel Islands.
VNFS also asks the Vietnamese authorities to denounce the Chinese acts, and demand that they immediately cease obstructing, attacking, or sinking Vietnamese fishing boats in Viet Nam’s waters.
VNFS expects robust approaches by the Vietnamese authorities against China’s reckless and absurd violation of Viet Nam’s waters, and to demands that the Chinese authorities compensate for the damages that Quảng Ngãi fishermen suffer from the sinking of their boat.
The Vietnamese authorities are also requested to step up patrolling activities to support and protect fishermen’s lives and properties at sea. VNFS says additional patrols would help prevent the attacks and intimidation, and allow fishermen to do their jobs.
According to the Friday report by VNFS, while working in the Paracel Islands’ fishing area, the fishing boat QNg 90617, owned by Mr Trần Hồng Thọ (33, Bình Châu commune, Bình Sơn district, Quảng Ngãi province), was deliberately rammed and sunk by the China’s ship 4301 around 3 am on April 2nd. The incident happened near Woody Island (Phú Lâm Island) of Viet Nam’s Paracel Islands.
Upon learning about the incident, three other Quảng Ngãi’s fishing boats rushed to the rescue. These boats were all owned by fishermen from Bình Châu commune, namely QNg 90045 (owned by Mr Đặng Tằm), QNg 90399 (Mr Đặng Dũng), and QNg 90929 (Mr Nguyễn Thành Linh).
By 6 am on April 2nd, China deployed two more ships, 4001 and 3001, to the area to obstruct and chase off these boats. Linh’s and Dũng’s boats were later captured and towed to Woody Island, where they were searched and had their equipment seized or damaged. The Chinese ships also fired water cannons to chase off Tằm’s boat until 12 pm on April 2nd, causing losses and damages to the boat’s equipment and forcing it to turn ashore.
Not until 6 pm of the same day were the eight fishermen of the sunk boat QNg 90617 released by the Chinese to Dũng’s and Linh’s boats (four to each boat). The Chinese ships then chased for hours on end in the evening of April 2nd to force the two boats to leave the Paracels area.
As Linh’s boat had just started sailing, they are still trying to continue fishing in the Paracels and will return home later with the four fishermen released by the Chinese. Dũng’s boat, however, lost many pieces of equipment and properties and was obliged to turn ashore with the other four released fishermen. They are expected to reach the mainland by the evening of April 4th.
Viet Nam demands China to punish its coast guard ship for sinking Vietnamese fishing boat in the Paracels
April 3rd, 2020
Thanh Niên –– With the latest sinking of a Quảng Ngãi’s fishing boat, China has violated Viet Nam’s sovereignty of the Paracel Islands, damaged properties, and threatened lives and legal rights of Vietnamese fishermen.
In response to questions for information on the incident involving the fishing boat QNg 90617 TS and its eight fishermen in the Woody Island area in Viet Nam’s Paracels, the spokesperson of Viet Nam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lê Thị Thu Hằng, stated:
According to information by the Vietnamese authorities, the fishing boat QNg 90617 TS with eight Vietnamese fishermen, while conducting regular activities in the waters of Viet Nam’s Paracel Islands, was obstruted and sunk by a Chinese coast guard ship.
As we have repeatedly asserted, Viet Nam has ample historical evidence and legal grounds to affirm our sovereignty over the Paracel (Hoàng Sa) và Spratly (Trường Sa) Islands in accordance with international laws.
The aforementioned act by a China’s official ship violated Viet Nam’s sovereignty over the Paracel Islands, damaged the properties and threatened Vietnamese fishermen’s lives and legal rights, went against the common understanding of the two countries’ high-level leaders on humane treatments of fishermen and the Agreement on the Fundamental Principles in Resolving Issues at Sea between Viet Nam and China, and contradicted the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). This has complicated the situation, and did not help the relationship between the two countries as well as the maintenance of peace, stability, and cooperation in the South China Sea.
On April 3rd, a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented a diplomatic correspondence to the Embassy of China to express Viet Nam’s objection. The correspondence also demands that China investigate and punish officials and the coast guard ship involved in the incident, prevent similar incidents in the future, and provide reasonable compensation for the damages incurred to the Vietnamese fishermen.
The Vietnamese authorities also announced that as of April 3rd, all eight fishermen on the boat QNg 90617 TS have been received safely.
As Thanh Niên reported, the fishing boat QNg 90617 TS with a 420-HP engine, owned by Mr Trần Hồng Thọ (33, Phú Quý hamlet, Bình Châu commune, Bình Sơn district, Quảng Ngãi province), was sunk by a China’s ship while fishing in the Paracels area. The boat had started sailing from Sa Kỳ Border Services Station on March 20th.
After the boat was sunk, three other fishing boats, QNg 90045 TS (owned by Mr Đặng Tằm), QNg 90399 TS (Mr Đặng Dũng), and QNg 90292 TS (Mr Nguyễn Thành Linh) attempted a rescue. However, upon arriving, they did not find QNg 90617 TS and its fishermen and instead saw a China’s white steel ship patrolling the area. The three boats continued their search but failed to find QNg 90617 TS and the fishermen. Mr Đặng Tằm then contacted mainland about the incident.
Trinh-Don Nguyen (Nguyễn Trịnh Đôn) is a researcher in Canada with experience in Vietnamese―English translation in science and South China Sea-related topics.
The South China Sea Chronicle Initiative is a non-profit, independent project initiated by Vietnamese-origin researchers to compile facts and systematic studies about the South China Sea disputes. Our goal in chronicling events in the South China Sea, both in the past and at present, is to better understand the origins of and hence to promote a peaceful solution to the disputes in the interest of peace, stability and development in the region and the world.
(The report has been updated with photos taken by Vietnamese fishermen on the ground during the incident.)