An unidentified vessel sank a Vietnamese fishing boat on Tuesday night in the waters off Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago (Paracel Islands), leaving 34 fishermen floating at sea for hours.
The fishermen were unable to identify the ship due to the darkness. The fishermen, from the central province of Quang Nam, used an ICOM device to inform authorities.
On Wednesday morning, a Vietnamese boat fishing near the area rescued the fishermen, who were very weak following several hours at sea, according to Truong Cong Bay, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of Binh Minh commune, Thang Binh district, Quang Nam province. They are expected to arrive on the mainland late on Thursday.
“The boat sank just minutes after being hit, and the 34 fishermen had to jump into the sea. The position where the incident took place is about 350 miles from northern Hoang Sa,” Bay said.
Also on Wednesday morning, Vietnam’s Zone II Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Danang sent out rescue ship SAR 412 to tow the damaged boat to the mainland.
Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago is illegally occupied by China. On March 6 and 18, two Vietnamese fishing boats operating around Hoang Sa were attacked and robbed by Chinese marine surveillance ship 46101. At least three more Vietnamese fishing boats were also attacked in March, according to fishermen.