Chinese jet fighter flies in Vietnam’s sky above illegal oil rig

The Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department on July 13 reported that a Chinese jet fighter made several circles above Vietnamese law enforcement ships operating near drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 that is illegally standing in Vietnam’s waters.

A Chinese vessel (right) is ready to harass Vietnamese fisheries surveillance ship (Photo: VNA)
A Chinese vessel (right) is ready to harass Vietnamese fisheries surveillance ship (Photo: VNA)

In addition, China also sent another aircraft to the rig site. The aircraft looped over Vietnamese ships at an altitude of about 1,500m from 9:00 to 9:05 and then got closer to the ships from 12:30 to 12:40 at the lowest height of only 500m before leaving.

At the same time, up to 115 Chinese vessels of all kinds, including five battleships, were also present around the rig which was illegally positioned in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in early May, according to the department.

The ships aggressively prevented Vietnamese vessels from approaching the rig to perform communications work to demand China to immediately remove the rig out of Vietnam’s waters.

Facing aggressive harassment from Chinese side, Vietnam’s coast guard and fisheries surveillance ships persistently maintained their operations about 10 nautical miles from the rig.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese fishing boats still conducted normal activities about 42 nautical miles from the rig despite the violent disturbance of a large fleet of Chinese large fishing vessels backed by two coast guard ships and two logistics ones.

At the beginning of May 2014, China illegally dispatched the rig as well as a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft to Vietnam’s waters and positioned the rig at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude. The location is 80 miles deep into Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

Despite Vietnam’s protest, China expanded its scale of operation and moved the rig to 15 degrees 33 minutes 36 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 11 seconds east longitude, 60 nautical miles deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

China’s armed vessels aggressively fired high-power water cannons at and intentionally rammed against Vietnamese public-service and civil ships, causing damage to many boats and injuring many people on board.

Chinese ships have continuously encircled, constrained and driven away Vietnamese fishing boats and even injured Vietnamese fishermen, threatening their lives.

On May 26, Chinese ship 11209 sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel while it was operating normally in its traditional fishing ground near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago.

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