A Vietnamese fishing vessel collided with a Chinese ship near the Parcel Islands on Thursday, April 2. The Vietnamese have lodged an official protest against Beijing after the surveillance ship collided with the fishing boat. The Vietnamese foreign ministry posted on the government's official website on Saturday, April 4, that the country is in protest against Beijing after China rammed against the Vietnamese boat leading it to sink.

The Fisheries Society in Vietnam said in a statement posted to its website that the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel and moved to other Vietnamese vessels nearby.

The statement released by the foreign ministry of Vietnam said that: "The Chinese vessel committed an act that violated Vietnam's sovereignty over the Hoang Sa archipelago and threatened the lives and damaged the property and legitimate interests of Vietnamese fishermen."

The statement referred to the Parcel Islands in its Vietnamese name. There have been continuous disputes in the past few years over the waters of the South China Sea between China and several other countries including Vietnam. Vietnam and China have particularly been fighting over the waters that the Vietnamese call the East Sea.

South China Sea
South China Sea Reuters

China says that the vessel entered illegally

The Chinese Coast Guard said late on Friday, April 3, that the fishing vessel entered the region illegally. In a social media post, the coast guard said that the vessel from Vietnam made a few dangerous manoeuvres before colliding with the Chinese surveillance ship and sank soon after. The South China Sea tensions have further flared after the fishing vessel collision.

Vietnam said that the Chinese vessel hit the fishing boat and sank it after which they captured the other two boats which came to rescue the eight men who were in distress. But, China said that the dangerous sharp turn taken by the Vietnamese boat caused the collision leading to the vessel sinking.

Beijing has put claims on most of the South China Sea, which also includes historical claims and artificial island claims. The historical claims have been disputed by even the International Court. The Parcel Islands were claimed by the Vietnamese before the Chinese invasion a few decades ago.