Argentina sunk a Chinese boat that was allegedly fishing in its national waters. The country’s navy used artillery to sink the vessel. A “seriously concerned” China has demanded an investigation into the incident.
Argentina’s navy announced Tuesday that it used gunfire to sink a boat bearing Chinese insignia. The authorities insist the boat was intentionally fishing illegally in national waters. Bizarrely, authorities further claim the fishing vessel tried multiple techniques to evade interception and even attempted to ram the navy’s ship that had approached the boat. The Chinese government has expressed serious concern about Argentina’s actions and called for a detailed investigation into the accident.
The country’s Naval Prefecture sank the Lu Yan Yuan Yu 010 fishing vessel after chasing it in Argentine waters, reported CNN. The statement from the navy noted the boat was intercepted Monday off the coast of Puerto Madryn, about 907 miles south of Buenos Aires. The navy noted it has been about 15 years since one of its vessels sank a foreign boat because it was fishing illegally in Argentina’s waters, reported the Washington Post.
What’s concerning is that the statement mentions the boat did not heed warning calls that were sent out. The vessel even turned off its lights in an apparent attempt to evade capture at the hands of Argentina’s authorities. As a standard response, Argentina’s naval officers fired warning shots. In retaliation, the fishing boat attempted to ram the Argentine naval vessel. That’s when sailors brought out the big guns and shot holes in the hull of the fishing boat, noted the statement from the Naval Prefecture.
“On distinct occasions, the offending boat realized maneuvers aimed at colliding with the coast guard, putting not only its own crew at risk, but also the personnel of the coast guard.”
The navy insists that the holes were shot at different parts of the boat with the sole intention of sinking it. Incidentally, the fishing boat was manned by a crew of more than 30 people. As the people jumped into the water to escape the sinking vessel, Argentina’s sailors rescued about four of them and thereafter promptly placed them under arrest for trespassing. They remained in custody and were to go before a federal judge in southern Chubut province, reported Fox News.
The rest of the crew that was on the boat was picked up another Chinese vessel in the area. China’s foreign ministry has confirmed the Chinese vessel, which was in the vicinity of the ill-fated fishing boat, picked up about 28 sailors on board the vessel sunk by Argentina.
The Chinese government lodged a statement over the incident and asked for an investigation, China’s foreign ministry said, according to Reuters. Lu Kang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, posted a statement on the ministry’s website saying the boat had been fishing in Argentine waters and was chased for several hours before Argentine naval fired on the vessel.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Embassy to Argentina have lodged urgent representations with Argentina, expressing serious concern, urging Argentina to carry out a full investigation immediately and to inform China of the details, to protect the safety and lawful rights of Chinese sailors, and to take effective measures to avoid similar incidents.”
While it did corroborate with Argentina’s version of the incident, as well as the number of people rescued by each side, the statement from the Chinese did not dwell much on the details, especially those that involved illegal fishing or ramming a navy vessel.
The incident provides the first test for new Argentine President Mauricio Macri and China after relations between the two countries had improved under previous president Cristina Fernandez, reported News Max.
[Photo by Hong Wu/Getty Images]