Uptdates on-site developments in the area where China illegally installs oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 within the Vietnamese Waters (June 1st – Now)
17/06/2014 12:36 (GMT+7)

Presented by Mr. Ngo Ngoc Thu, Vice Commander and Chief of Staff of the Vietnamese Coast Guard at the International Press Conference on June 16th, 2014

I. On the Chinese side

1.Escort forces of oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981

On May 27, oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 has been moved from the former location, which is 17 nautical miles South West of the Triton island to a new location, which is 23 nautical miles South East of the Triton island. In early June, the location of the oil rig was slightly adjusted before settling at the current location.

- Since the beginning of June, the Chinese oil rig escort forces have frequently maintained 101 to 115 vessels and crafts of various types, including 04 to 06 warships (two missile frigates 534, 572; two fast-attack missile crafts 751, 756; two minesweepers 839, 840) and law-enforcement vessels, towing and service vessels, transport vessels, oil tankers and fishing boats.

China constantly uses surveillance planes (B3566, B3843); and noticeably  jet fighter SU-27, aerial scout TU-154 (no. 81223) and early warning aircraft KJ-200 (no. 9421) to hover over Vietnamese ships at 500-1000m heights to scout, intimidate the Vietnamese ships.

2. On-site developments as of June 15th

- The location of oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 remains unchanged.

China uses 110 vessels to protect the oil rig, including 06 warships (02 missile frigates 534, 535; two fast-attack crafts 751, 756; two minesweepers 839, 840); 34 coast guard vessels; 02 maritime surveillance ships; 02 patrol vessels; 01 fishery law enforcement ship; 18 towing vessels; 14 transport vessels; and 33 fishing boats.

During the day, we detected airplane KJ-200 coded 9421 hovering 03 times around and plane Y12 hovering 02 times over the Vietnamese ships at 300-500m heights.

From 7:30 to 08:05 of June 15: China used 16 vessels (Coast guard 3411, 2506, 23, 2371, 44105, 1112, 2337, 13101, 33101, 3383, 263, 2166, 21, 33102 and two towing vessels) to obstruct Vietnamese Coast Guard vessel 8003, 2016, 2015, 2013, 4032, 4033 and fishery surveillance vessel 952 at the location from 8.2 to 10 nautical miles from the oil rig.

3. Operation tactics

The Chinese escort fleet is divided into 3 rings: the inner ring which is 1 – 1.5 nautical miles from the rig with 10 – 15 vessels; the middle ring which is 4.5 – 5 nautical miles from the rig with 40 - 45 vessels; the outer ring which is 10 - 12 nautical miles from the oil rig with 25 – 35 vessels. The inner ring vessels frequently swap locations. China constantly deploy 9 to 12 speed vessels together with the towing vessels to closely follow the Vietnamese vessels at a distance of 200m shouting high-power speakers and honks, standing ready to ram and fire water cannon at the Vietnamese ships.

Chinese vessels are ready to cut-off, rear-block, approach the side and collide with Vietnamese ships, fire high-power water cannon to cause damage to the Vietnamese ships and on-deck equipments, use high frequency sonar system and high-lumen light to negatively affect the mental and physical health of the Vietnamese crews when the Vietnamese ships approach to broadcast reassertion of Viet Nam’s sovereignty and prevent the illegal operation of the oil rig ( at 13:55 on June 7th, fishery resources surveillance vessel 635 was rammed by Chinese towing vessel 281 from the left rear, causing damage to the sleeping cabin measuring 5m long and 3m wide and deforming the deck).

There are about 40 - 45 Chinese fishing vessels divided into 2 groups and supported by their coast guard vessels. They frequently obstruct Vietnamese fishing boats operating in Viet Nam’s traditional fishing ground in Hoang Sa, from 30 to 40 nautical miles South West and West-South West of the oil rig.

II. Vietnamese maritime law enforcement forces performing their duties in the area

Despite complex weather conditions, the Vietnamese law enforcement forces have been perseveringly stationed at the site to perform law enforcement duties and hinder the illegal operation of the Chinese oil rig and escort forces within Viet Nam’s waters.

III. Assessment of the on-site situation

On June 13th, Chinese Foreign Ministry organized a press conference about oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 where it provided distorted information and images about on-site developments. We, therefore, would like to clarify the followings:

China announced that up to 12:00 of June 13th 2014, the Vietnamese vessels rammed 1547 times into Chinese vessels, damaging the ship bow. We reject the false and unreasonable information as such. In reality, only Chinese vessels intentionally rammed and fired water cannon at the Vietnamese ships causing damages to 36 times/ships (23 fishery resources surveillance ships, 05 coast guard vessels, 07 fishing boats, among which fishing boat DNa 90152 was sank by Chinese vessel 11209 at 16:00 on May 26th 2014 at 16.5 nautical miles South West from the oil rig). Since May 3rd, a total of 15 Vietnamese fishery resources surveillance staff and 02 Vietnamese fishermen have been wounded. We have all the evidence and images showing Chinese vessels ramming Vietnamese vessels. The Vietnamese vessels could never have been able to hit the Chinese vessel bow with their deck and rear.

About China’s slandering Viet Nam of deploying frogmen, casting fishing nets and barriers at the site to harm the Chinese vessels and crew:

I would reaffirm that to date Viet Nam has not used any frogman at the site. About the fishing nets and floating objects that China collected, when Vietnamese fishing boats conducting normal operations within their traditional fishing ground, they were obstructed, rammed and fired water cannon at by Chinese vessels; therefore, they had to abandon the nets to avoid China’s impediments and destructive activities. The Chinese vessels also seized the Vietnamese vessels’ fishing nets and fishing equipments. The floating objects that China collected at sea were debris caused by Chinese vessels’ ramming and water cannon firing at the Vietnamese ships. The debris included the oil tanks, paint tanks, and wood pieces (training equipments) and other equipments on-deck. It is totally wrongful for China to intentionally collect the objects and claim them the artificial barriers.

China said it would not send military crafts and vessels to the site. In fact, both our-selves and the reporters from major international and domestic press agencies have been able to record the figures and codes of Chinese crafts operating at the site. These are undismissable evidences. Over the past 40 days, it could not have been possible that 04 – 06 warships performed normal patrol over the area as announced by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Despite the continued impediments and destructive activities of Chinese vessels, despite their drastic ramming and firing of water cannon at our forces, the Vietnamese coast guard and fishery resources surveillance have maintained utmost restraint and tried to avoid collision with the Chinese forces. The Vietnamese vessels did not fire water cannon nor ram the Chinese escort and fishing vessels. We only used speakers to demand China to withdraw its oil rig and escort vessels from the Vietnamese waters.

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