VietNamNet Bridge – Considering the 500-year-old ancient wreck that contains antiques in the sea of Binh Chau commune in Quang Ngai province as the "fortune" from the sea, hundreds of fishermen stoned the police and explorers to prevent them from exploring the ship on October 13.
Quang Ngai blockades the shipwreck with 500-year-old antiques
Fishermen flocked to the beach to shout and obstruct the authorities
from exploring the wreck.
On the morning of October 13, while the authorities were making a survey at the shipwreck, dozens of fishermen of Binh Chau commune swam to the sea to stone police officers and explorers. Some policemen were injured.
Dr. Doan Ngoc Khoi, Deputy Director of the Museum of Quang Ngai, who commanded the survey, said that while the divers and experts were doing their job, about 60 fishermen swam to the site.
"At first they pretended to swim, and then they moved closer to the wreck. Waterway traffic police took two canoes to remind them to not enter the restricted area but they stoned the police. Two policemen were wounded in the head and arm," Dr. Khoi said.
Because of insecurity, the survey had to pause. Dr. Khoi asked boats to run away from the site to ensure the safety for the crews. With more than 30 years working in the archaeological sector, Khoi said that he had never witnessed such harrowing scenes.
Fishermen smashed the door of a specialized vehicle of the police.
On shore, hundreds of fishermen flocked to the beach to scream and prevent ships from exploration tasks.
"Antiquities of the fishing village should be given to fishermen. The State can not take them away," some fishermen said.
Caption: Fishermen smashed the door of a specialized vehicle of the police.
The police arrested a belligerent fisherman. Immediately, hundreds of people gathered to break the door and then pushed the car to help the fisherman to escape.
Hundreds of policemen were mobilized to restore order. Colonel Nguyen Thanh Trang, Deputy Director of Quang Ngai police emphasized that based on the recorded images, the police would arrest the extremists.
"The survey and exploration of the shipwreck in Binh Chau was paused to stabilize order. The incident can be put for criminal prosecution," the colonel said.
Mobile police officers in Binh Chau to restore order.
The wreck is now protected by hundreds of police officers. Meanwhile, hundreds of fishermen of Binh Chau commune still insist that the wreck is the "fortune" of the fishing village, so they have the right to collect the antiques.
Earlier, on the afternoon of October 8, Quang Ngai province promulgated temporary regulations on the restricted areas with a radius of 70 meters to ensure safety for the exploration, excavation, salvage of antiques from the wreck in Binh Chau. Vietnamese and foreign vessels are not allowed to get in the area until the excavation finishes.
Urgent excavation proposed
At first fishermen pretended to swim, then they moved closer to the wreck.
Major General Le Xuan Hoa, Director of Quang Ngai Police, proposed to urgently excavate artifacts in Binh Chau at an urgent meeting between the provincial authorities and the government of Binh Chau commune on October 14.
The general said the incident on October 13 had been organized and prepared in advance.
"The acts of destroying state property and attacking the police have criminal signs. We hope the people will realize their wrongdoings and quickly surrender to the authorities to be entitled to the leniency of the law," Major-General Hoa said.
While waiting for the excavations, hundreds of police officers
and soldiers are still on duty to protect the wreck.
Dr. Doan Ngoc Khoi, Deputy Director of the Museum of Quang Ngai, said: "Through the survey, we have identified that the ancient ship is near 5 meters wide. This is a fairly large-sized ancient ship; fishermen just took a few antiques from it."
The estimated time for excavation is around 3 months.
While waiting for the excavations, hundreds of police officers and soldiers are still on duty day and night both on the shore and in the sea to prevent the fishermen from illegally salvaging antiques from the wreck.