Vietnamese, Chinese vessels clash anew at sea

Posted at 06/24/14 4:44 AM

HANOI - Vietnamese state media VTV reported on Monday that Chinese vessels rammed and heavily damage one of their fishery control boats.

VTV said the fishery control boat, KN 951, was surrounded by 7 Chinese vessels, one of which rammed into its left flank at speed, leaving its hull heavily damaged. The report said no one was hurt in the collision.

The incident took place 11.5 knots away from the oil rig HD 981, which China parked 240 km (150 miles) off the coast of Vietnam. Hanoi says the rig is in its 200-nautical- mile exclusive economic zone and on its continental shelf. China has said the rig was operating completely within its waters.

Last Friday, China has announced it is moving a second oil rig in the South China sea closer to Vietnam's coast. A semi-submersible drilling rig, the Nan Hai Jiu Hao is currently being towed southeast of its original position south of China's Hainan Island.

The announcement comes at a time when many countries in Asia, particularly Vietnam and the Philippines, are angered at China's increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea, where sovereignty over countless islands and reefs is in dispute.

China claims about 90 percent of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims to parts of the waters.