Vietnam’s vessel Viking 2 ‘harassed’ many times

Norwegian-flagged Viking 2, a 3D seismic conducting vessel, which had its exploration cables damaged by a Chinese ship in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone on Thursday, kept a detailed journal of the events that unfolded.

Petrovietnam Technical Services Corporation (PTSC) hired the Viking 2, manufactured by French Global Provider of Geophysical Services and Equipment CGG Veritas, to explore Vietnam’s continental shelf.

PTSC and CGG Veritas have established a joint-venture enterprise to use 2D and 3D seismic conducting vessels to search for gas and oil within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone.

Viking 2 had been asked by Talisaman Energy Corporation of Canada, which was given permission to conduct exploration in Vietnam’s territory by PetroVietnam, to explore for oil in plot 136-3D in Vietnam’s continental shelf.

The red and white Viking 2 vessel is 93.35 meters long with a 5 meter long waterline. It has eight exploration cables, each 6,000 meters long.

May 29 and 31: Viking 2 was harassed by Chinese boats while it was conducting seismic surveys for Japan’s Idemitsu Corporation at the plot 05-1D located in Vietnam’s continental shelf.

June 9:

Afternoon. In a telephone interview with Tuoi Tre, Nguyen Hung Dung, general director of PTSC said, “The actions in which the Chinese fishing boat 6226 violated Vietnam’s sea sovereignty and cruised over the Viking 2’s bow were deliberate and well planned.”

6:00 p.m. An official of PTSC told Tuoi Tre that at 12:00 a.m. on June 9, some of Viking 2’s exploration cables that were damaged when they became tangled in specialized cable-cutting equipment belonging to Chinese ship numbered 6226 had successfully been fixed.

Another official of PTSC said, “Such intentional actions by China showed that 6226 is not a normal fishing boat. It’s possible that the ship had been required to hinder Vietnamese ship’s normal operations.”

Viking 2’s journal (provided by PetroVietnam):

June 8:

7 a.m. Coast guard ships Van Hoa 737 and 731 reported seeing 15 Chinese-flagged fishing boats catching fish within Vietnam’s continental shelf.

8:45 a.m. Van Hoa 737 approached the Chinese boat numbered 80105 and sent a warning signal in Chinese saying that the Chinese ship violated Vietnam’s sea sovereignty.

9:35 a.m. Chinese fishery admin ship numbered 303 told Van Hoa 737 they would leave the area within the next 3 to 4 hours. They said they had a problem with the ship’s rudder and it was taking a long time to fix. After being informed, Van Hoa 737 waited for them to leave.

11:00 a.m. Van Hoa 737 received a signal from Chinese fishery admin ship 303 that it would leave the area. However, after a few minutes it announced it has the right to fish in the area, and added if Van Hoa had any questions, it could contact their government (China).

11:30 a.m. An unknown airplane flew above Van Hoa 737 and Chinese boats at a very low height. It left the area 10 minutes later.

12:00 a.m. Viking 2 vessel changed its plans of conducting seismic surveys in order to avoid Chinese fishing boats.

2:50 p.m. Some Chinese fishing boats ran in front of Van Hoa 737, then changed direction to move north.

8:30 p.m. Coast guard ship CRI was on duty to protect the Viking 2, which was followed by Chinese fishing boats. Viking 2 began to survey again.

June 9:

6:00 a.m. When Viking 2 was exploring for oil at 6o47’5”N, 109o17’5”E, which lies within Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf, Chinese ship 6226 cruised over the Viking 2’s bow and sped up. Viking 2’s exploration cables then became tangled in the specialized cable-cutting equipment belonging to the Chinese ship, damaging the cables. The 6226 had its propeller broken. It was drifting behind Viking 2 for some hours.

8:20 a.m. Viking 2 escaped from the pursuit of Chinese boats. Viking 2 began repairing its equipment and planned to exit the area.

Source: Tuoi Tre