Vietnamese fishermen said the number of Chinese vessels off Spratly Islands has increased significantly since late 2013, according to a report by Vietnam’s state media Thanh Nien.
Tran Quang Pho, the 43-year-old captain of a fishing boat in Binh Thuan told Thanh Nien that the number of Chinese vessels, especially armored fishing boats, increased dramatically since late 2013, when China intensified construction activities on seven reefs in the Spratly Islands that it had forcefully seized and occupied in late 1980s. Vietnam’s stance is that these occupations and activities by China are illegal.
Clashes between different types of Chinese vessels, including fishing boats, tug boats, sea patrols and even warships, and Vietnamese fishing boats have become common, according to the fishermen from Vietnam’s central provinces Binh Thuan, Binh Dinh and Phu Yen.
Before 2013, Chinese fishing boats usually went in groups of three to five to support one another during long trips. Recently, however, they went individually as they can easily dock at ports that China had built in the Spratly Islands for fuel refills.
Vietnamese fishermen claimed that some Chinese armored fishing boats usually approached Vietnamese islands for spying purposes.
Below are some of photos of Chinese vessels taken by Thanh Nien’s reporters in Spratly waters between May and June.
See the full photo collection and Thanh Nien’s report at
Calm Before the Storm over the Spratlys: