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China towing second oil rig to East Vietnam Sea amid tensions

China has dispatched another oil rig, Nan Hai Jiu Hao, to the East Vietnam Sea after illegally placing the Haiyang Shiyou 981 drilling platform in Vietnamese waters since May 1, despite strong protest from Vietnam.

China towing second oil rig to East Vietnam Sea amid tensions

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In a notice on its website on June 17, the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) said the new rig would be towed between June 18 and 20 by a tugboat from its existing location, at 17°38' North latitude and 110°12.3' East longitude, to the new location at 17°14.1' North latitude and 109°31' East longitude in the East Vietnam Sea.

The new location is near Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago, a news website of Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television,, reported on June 18.

It is unknown how long the second rig, which is owned by China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), will be placed in the East Vietnam Sea, according to

As shown on the map, Nan Hai Jiu Hao is to be located in the area off the mouth of the Gulf of Tonkin.

Vietnam and China are negotiating to fix a line to delineate the maritime boundary between the two countries in this gulf.   

Nan Hai Jiu Hao, a semi-submersible drilling rig, is 600 meters long and weighs 21,714 tons. It moves at four nautical miles per hour, the MSA said.

The towing of the second platform followed the visit of Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi who arrived in Vietnam on Wednesday to discuss the first rig issue and bilateral cooperation.

Yang left the country the same day after meeting with high-ranking Vietnamese officials in Hanoi.

At the talk with Yang yesterday, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung affirmed that by placing the Haiyang Shiyou 981 rig in the Vietnamese waters around Hoang Sa, China has seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty and the agreements reached between leaders of both countries as well as broken international law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Vietnam Sea (DOC).

PM Dung requested that China remove its rig and escorting ships from Vietnam’s waters and join talks for the settlement of disputes and differences between the two countries by peaceful measures based on international law and the common perception of the two countries’ leaders.

Earlier the same day, at a meeting with the Chinese official, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh firmly asserted Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa as well as its sovereign right and jurisdiction over the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf as defined by the 1982 UNCLOS to which both Vietnam and China are signatories.

The Deputy PM demanded that China withdraw its rig and guardian ships from Vietnam’s waters, control the situation to prevent conflicts, and join talks for the settlement of current tensions.

Source: TuoiTre News

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