A Chinese vessel rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat off the coast of Vietnam on Monday afternoon, the first sinking of a ship in the conflict over disputed waters in the South China Sea.
The state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper reported the incident online. Chinese and Vietnamese ships have clashed repeatedly since Beijing pushed ahead with the installation of an oil rig early this month in waters claimed by Hanoi, as reported by Nikkei.
“It (Vietnamese ship DNa 90152) sank,” ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said of the Vietnamese vessel. “It was rammed by a Chinese boat.”
The fishing boat was surrounded by 40 Chinese fishing vessels 17 nautical miles near the Chinese oil rig drilling near Paracel Islands.
A standoff between 113 Chinese vessels and 60 Vietnamese vessels continues inside the disputed territory.