Argentina sinks Chinese vessel, cites illegal fishing

Story highlights

  • Argentina's coast guard accuses a Chinese boat of trying to collide deliberately
  • China calls on Argentina to investigate incident
  • The Chinese vessel was fishing illegally in its exclusive economic zone, Argentina says
  • The coast guard says it chased, opened fire on and eventually sank the vessel

Buenos Aires (CNN)Argentina's coast guard says it sank a Chinese fishing vessel that was fishing in a restricted area off the South American country's coast.

The Argentine Naval Prefecture chased and eventually sank the Lu Yan Yuan Yu 010 vessel after detecting it illegally fishing within the country's exclusive economic zone, officials said Tuesday.
First, according to a statement from the Argentine coast guard, warning shots were fired. The Chinese vessel, Argentine authorities said, responded by turning off its lights and deliberately trying to crash.
"On distinct occasions, the offending boat realized maneuvers aimed at colliding with the coast guard, putting not only its own crew at risk, but also the personnel of the coast guard," the statement said.
That's why the coast guard opened fire, Argentine officials said.
    The vessel sank, and four people on board -- three crew members and the captain -- were rescued by Argentina's coast guard.
    China said that the other 28 crew members who'd been on the Chinese vessel were saved by Chinese fishing vessels nearby.
    Argentina's foreign ministry and the Chinese consulate have been notified, the coast guard said.

    China calls for investigation

    China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on Argentina to investigate the incident and ensure the safety of the crew.
    The statement added that the Chinese embassy in Argentina had "urgently taken up the matter" with Argentine authorities.
    China said the incident took place on Monday morning when the Chinese fishing vessel was fired upon by the Argentine coast guard after being chased for hours.
    "As a result, water entered the vessel's body and the vessel began to sink," the statement said.
    Video posted on YouTube by the coast guard shows the Chinese boat listing to one side during the operation.
    The incident began Monday near Puerto Madryn, Argentina, the coast guard said, within the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone off the country's coast.