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 Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers 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.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8954
JPY
USD
119.75
GBP
USD
0.6515
CAD
USD
1.2518
INR
USD
61.921

Rates may not be current.