A Chinese oil survey vessel that had been operating illegally in Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf for more than three months made its exit from Vietnam’s waters on Thursday, Reuters reported.
The Chinese vessel, the Haiyang Dizhi 8, was tracked speeding away from Vietnam’s EEZ towards China on Thursday under the escort of at least two Chinese ships, Reuters reported, citing data from Marine Traffic, a website that tracks vessels.
The Haiyang Dizhi 8 first entered Vietnam’s EEZ in the southern area of the East Vietnam Sea on July 3 and appeared to be conducting a seismic survey.
The ship left the area on August 7 and returned one week later under the escort of Chinese coast guard vessels.
The Chinese fleet entered the area for the third time on September 7 and illegally operated there until September 27, according to Twitter updates from Prof. Ryan Martinson of the U.S. Naval War College.
On October 3, the Vietnamese foreign ministry’s spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang announced that the group of ships had “expanded their operation range” within Vietnam’s EEZ and Continental Shelf.
Hanoi has persistently made clear that the waters that the Haiyang Dizhi 8 and its escorts have been operating in lie “entirely within the sovereignty and jurisdiction of Vietnam”.
Vietnam resolutely voiced its opposition to these illegal actions on multiple occasions, and has repeatedly demanded that China pull its ships from Vietnam’s EEZ and Continental Shelf as defined in the provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also condemned actions that obstruct Vietnam’s oil and gas activities within Vietnamese waters as violating international law and the 1982 UNCLOS.