Argentina fires on Chinese fishing vessel again

Argentina fires on Chinese fishing vessel again

China's fishery department said that China hopes Argentina could provide electronic coordinates of its maritime exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as soon as possible to avoid further conflict, after the Argentina defense vessels opened fire on a Chinese fishing boat allegedly illegally fishing in its waters.

China said it will not be partial on this issue if it is confirmed and hopes that the Argentine side provides its boundary coordinates to avoid similar incidents from happening.

According to the Argentine newspaper Clarín, the country's coast guard GC-24 Mantilla was chasing a Chinese fishing vessel HUA XIANG 801, presumed as "illegally fishing" early Saturday morning (local time), 199 nautical miles from San Jorge Gulf in la Patagonia, which Argentina claimed is within its EEZ. 

The chase lasted three hours and the Mantilla then fired at the fishing boat, but it escaped in the end with no reports of casualties, according to the Argentine Naval Prefecture, a service of the Argentine Security Ministry.

The Bureau of Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MOA) of China told the Global Times on Monday that the company which HUA XIANG 801 belongs to has already sent delegates to Argentina for further investigations. 

China said it hopes that Argentina can provide the boundary coordinates of the nautical chart of its EEZ to prevent similar incidents from happening again. China also hopes the Argentine side does not use force in similar situations, which may endanger the Chinese crew.

The reason that Chinese fishing boats are always accused of entering Argentine waters is Argentina has never provided the boundary coordinates of the nautical chart of its EEZ to the Chinese side. 

Chinese companies can only rely on internationally used nautical charts for critical navigational information for international waters. These charts usually have minor differences with the Argentine side, thus causing many disputes on territorial issues. China and Argentina have already started talks on this matter.

The bureau said that China has always asked its companies and fishing boats to run their business under the law, keeping a safe distance from the related countries' EEZs while operating in international waters. 

China will crack down on all illegal and criminal activities of distant water fishing with "zero tolerance," and will not offer any political or diplomatic help but "severe punishment" for any confirmed EEZ violations.

The Chinese distant water fishing boats have collided with the Argentine coast guard many times in recent years, reports said. On March 14, 2016, Argentine Mantilla-class patrol vessel opened fire and sunk a Chinese fishing trawler Lu Yan Yuan Yu 010 during a territorial fishing dispute. Fortunately, there were no fatalities. On February 21, the Argentine coast guard shot at a Chinese fishing vessel Jing Yuan 626 which was allegedly illegally operating in Argentina's EEZ, and the chasing afterwards lasted for eight hours.

Global Times es un sitio web oficial del Gobierno Argentino