China withdraws oil rig from Vietnam’s waters

The Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department on July 16 affirmed that China has withdrawn the Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil drilling rig from Vietnam’s economic exclusive zone after 75 days of illegally placement.

The oil rig is moving towards China's Hainan Island with over 70 escort ships of various kinds.


Mr. Ha Le, deputy head of the department, told Sai Gon Giai Phong that China began to remove the oil rig since 9 p.m yesterday. It was 40 nautical miles away from the old position this morning and moving at 3-4 nautical miles per hour.


According to announcements via internet by the Chinese side, the withdrawal was made because the oil rig has completed its mission and found out signs of oil in the exploratory area after two months, Mr. Le added.


Major General Nguyen Quang Dam, commander of the Vietnam Coast Guard, reaffirmed the above information, saying that China would take at least two days to bring the oil rig back home.


China Oilfield Services Limited (COSL), which is the operator of the oil rig, on July 15 declared that the oil rig had stopped operations near Tri Ton Island of Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago after completing exploratory drilling in the area within 73 days.


The Haiyang Shiyou 981 will be relocated and operate in  Hainan Island.


Vietnam’s fisheries surveillance and coast guard forces have been ready to avoid typhoon Rammasun which might affect the weather in the Hoang Sa Archipelago, Mr. Le added.


Xinhua News Agency quoted Qiu Zhongjian, a geologist from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, saying that the move was to protect Chinese workers in the oil rig from possible typhoons and to prevent engineering issues.

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