Vietnam protests to China over South China Sea boat sinking
The two countries have long been embroiled in a dispute over the potentially energy-rich stretch of waters, called the East Sea by Vietnam.
The fishing vessel was moored near Da Loi island in the Paracel archipelago on March 6 when a China Maritime Surveillance Vessel chased it and fired a water cannon at it, the ministry said in a statement.
The boat sank after hitting rocks while it was being chased. All five fishermen on board were rescued by another Vietnamese fishing boat, the ministry said.
A Vietnamese rescue agency said earlier that the Chinese vessel rammed the fishing boat.
“The Chinese vessel committed an act that violated Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa archipelago, threatened the lives and damaged the properties and the legitimate interests of Vietnamese fishermen,” the ministry said, referring to the Paracel Islands by their Vietnamese name. ■