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Chinese ship attacks Brazilian fishing vessel in international waters

Staff Writer |
A Brazilian fishing vessel was attacked by a Chinese vessel 600 kilometres off the coast of Rio Grande do Norte, in international waters.

The attack, which did not cause the sinking of the ship or injuries to the crew, was motivated by the fight for tuna fishing territory, says the Union of the Fishing Industry of Rio Grande do Norte (SINDIPESCA).

"There is a war going on at sea, a fight for tuna," said Gabriel Calzavara, SINDIPESCA president.

The attacked vessel, Oceano Pesca I, belongs to the businessperson Everton Padilha, who explained that the clash occurred on November 22 at 11.30, about 100 miles off Fernando de Noronha, to the south.

Padilha said his boat was fishing when the Chinese ship began to approach. On the radio and by signals, the Chinese threatened to sink the Brazilian vessel. "They were threatened, the Chinese hit the boat and made gestures as if they were going to cut the throat of the crew," he told the website Poder Naval.

After the attack, the Chinese vessel Chang Rong IV continued to pursue Oceano Pesca I for a while.

According to the businessperson, his boat was not wrecked thanks to a polyurethane protection that is used for keeping the fish fresh.

"A hole was made in the hull. As after the steel plate there is a layer of polyurethane, this prevented the water from entering the interior of the boat. The ship from Rio Grande do Norte resisted because it is new and made of steel. Otherwise, it would have sunk, the crew would be dead now and nobody would ever know what had happened," he added.

"There is a fight at sea, a war for tuna in the Atlantic, and Brazil is bothering, it is the tuna war," he said.

The Brazilian fishing vessel planned to remain at sea until the end of this month, but because of the attack it was forced to return to Rio Grande do Norte.

Calzavara stressed that this is the third incident between Brazilians and the Chinese in three months, but it is the first time that one boat has tried to sink the other one.

"It is necessary for the Brazilian government to take measures before the worst happens," stressed SINDIPESCA president.

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