News / Economy

Sea Dispute Spotlights Plight of Vietnamese Fishermen

Vietnamese coast guard officer monitors Chinese vessel in the South China Sea, about 210 km (130 miles) off coastal Vietnam, May 15, 2014.
Vietnamese coast guard officer monitors Chinese vessel in the South China Sea, about 210 km (130 miles) off coastal Vietnam, May 15, 2014.
Vietnamese captain Dang Van Nhan has been left idle in his hometown of Da Nang following the sinking of his ship in the South China Sea last month. 

Shortly after the ramming incident with a Chinese ship, contributions began pouring in from all over the country. But they have not been enough to help him build a new $200,000 fishing boat that would get him back to work.

While China and Vietnam continue trading accusations over aggressive behaviors, it is fishermen like Nhan who have borne the brunt of mounting tensions in the disputed waters.

Vietnamese fishing crews have been urged by authorities to maintain their presence at sea to protect the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. But critics say that might put them at risk while the confrontation between the two neighbors shows no sign of abating.

Some on social media networks go even further, suggesting that fishermen are being used by Hanoi as human shields, an accusation denied by Vietnamese officials.

Tran Van Linh, Chairman of the Da Nang Fisheries Association, told VOA’s Vietnamese Service that authorities have never forced Nhan or others into danger.

“They are asked to protect the nation by continued fishing in our territory," he said. "We instruct them to retreat if they encounter Chinese forces. They are told not to provoke or to act aggressively. What China has done is to dishearten us not to carry on fishing, to occupy our sea illegally.”

This week, Vietnam’s parliament, the National Assembly, endorsed a budget of more than $756 million to support its maritime forces and fishermen.

Lawmaker Nguyen Si Cuong, a permanent member of the Assembly’s Legal Committee, told VOA that it is a necessary move.

“Fishermen are currently facing a lot of difficulties at sea, so we have to help them do their jobs," he said. "It does not mean we support them in venturing out to face off against Chinese forces.”

Colonel Nguyen Quang Trung, Chief Commander of the Coast Guard of Region 2 in central Vietnam, agreed with Cuong’s comment, saying sea law enforcement teams have been beefed up to reassure fishermen.

Hanoi and Beijing have accused each other of escalating tensions since the placement a Chinese oil rig in waters claimed by both countries.

For his part, Nhan told VOA last week that he was looking forward to going back out to sea as soon as possible.

Vietnam has said it plans to revamp fleets of wooden-hull fishing boats with steel-clad ones, raising hope in Nhan and other fishermen who rely on the ocean for their livelihoods.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Vietnamese service.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: John Smith from: I hate bullies
June 12, 2014 8:50 AM
China is trying to turn the Western Pacific into its own lake under its own rules, riding roughshod over at least four other countries in the process.
"Might is right" it believes to be the case. The same approach taken by countless tyrants in history - the last one being Nazi Germany. It did not present its case to the UN until five weeks after it had parked the oil rig in VN's EEZ. It only did so after vocal and universal denunciation from just about everyone concerned in the region and beyond (ASEAN, Japan, France, Australia, USA and also G7).

China is one of only three countries in the world which asserts that all maritime activities in its EEZ would be subject to its rules / laws - not just the mandatory 12nm territorial waters [the others are North Korea and Peru]. Without the exposure to and condemnation from the civilized world, China would continue to act in a bullying fashion in the manner of someone drunk on power.


by: Aurora from: USA
June 11, 2014 8:25 PM
For almost a decade since China declared 9-dash claim, China coastguard and fishing boats have acted like Pirates of South China sea, ramming, sinking of Vietnam fishing boats and beating, arresting Vietnam fishermen right inside Vietnam EEZ.
Google "Vietnam fishing boat attacked youtube".

Enough is enough. Vietnam government must strengthen coastguard force to protect fishermen otherwise fewer and fewer fishermen would dare to venture to the sea fishing. Eventually, the Vietnam EEZ East sea would become China's sea in practice with only Chinese boats fishing.

Vietnam coastguard must be equipped with camera system to record evidences of any piracy acts by China fishing boats and China coastguard ships and sophisticated communication / radar system to support VN fishing boats as these events occur.

Yes, more investment is needed to protect the beautiful sea of Vietnam. Please also seek help from Japan on sea technology.

In Response

by: Proto from: Singapore
June 12, 2014 5:39 AM
Nine-dash line had been there at 1947 by the then Taiwan's government before during the civil war. The parties of China were never invited to sign the agreement of borders when the war ended. In a way, China never agreed to the current water borders.

In Response

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
June 11, 2014 11:58 PM
Get rid of greedy viet cong first!


by: Chi Le from: USA
June 11, 2014 7:31 PM
The position of placement the Chinese oil rig is in the water region 200EEZ from Vietnam’s coastline. The water region belongs to Vietnam without the disputed water region, according to the international Law of the Sea. The long-term Chinese plot is to change water regions’ status and convert the other country’s undisputed water regions to disputed water regions.
It is sad for the Vietnamese fishermen who haven’t been protected from China’s aggressive actions in their own country.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7768
JPY
USD
108.84
GBP
USD
0.6124
CAD
USD
1.0999
INR
USD
61.042

Rates may not be current.