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

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

Nigerians Await New President With High Hopes

When pomp and circumstance of inauguration end in Abuja, Buhari will sit down to the hard task of governing Nigeria More

India's Restrictions on Several NGOs Raise Concerns

Political analysts link recent clampdown on advocacy groups to report last year that said foreign-funded NGO’s negatively impact economic development 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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9152
JPY
USD
122.70
GBP
USD
0.6494
CAD
USD
1.2374
INR
USD
63.925

Rates may not be current.