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Arms Fishing Vessels After Violent Oil Rig Standoff

Vietnamese fishing vessels in the South China Sea will be equipped with machine guns in the wake of a violent standoff over an oil rig in the Paracel Islands. The armed boats will start sailing on 15 September.

According to a report by Voice of America News, vessels that fall under the jurisdiction of the Vietnamese Fisheries Surveillance Force will now be armed. The standoff earlier this summer over the oil rig turned violent, with Vietnam claiming that ChiCom forces sank one fishing boat and damaged several others.

“Whatever Vietnam is equipping for its maritime enforcement forces, it’s nothing compared to China; however, it’s rather than nothing.  Both governments must take actions to solve the disputes since fishermen want to be safe and secure while operating at sea, not only to support our families but also to contribute products to our society,” Le Van Xinh, the captain of a Vietnamese fishing vessel that operates near the Paracel Islands, told VOA News.

In 1974, Vietnamese and ChiCom forces fought a significant naval battle near the Paracel Islands. Vietnamese forces lost a corvette and had three frigates damaged, with 53 silros killed. ChiCom forces lost 18 personnel, while four corvettes were damaged. The ChiComs were able to secure control over the Paracel Islands.