Argentina’s Navy announced Tuesday that it had used gunfire to sink a Chinese-flagged boat that was fishing illegally in national waters.
While the Chinese government is still looking into the matter and expressed serious concern, Argentina’s navy said that the boat was intercepted off the coast of Puerto Madryn, about 907 miles south of Buenos Aires.
According to the report, the boat ignored all warning calls and instead tried to ram the navy vessel in an attempt to damage it. In response to the hostile action taken by the fishing boat the navy fire live ammo and shot holes in different areas of the Chinese vessel, causing it to sink.
Four people on board the fishing vessel were rescued from the sinking craft and then immediately placed under arrest.
According to the navy it’s been over 15 years since they had to sink a vessel fishing illegally in national waters.
In Beijing, Lu Kang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, posted a statement on the ministry’s website saying the boat had been fishing in Argentine waters and was chased for several hours before Argentine naval fire holed the vessel. It said four Chinese were picked up by the Argentines and 28 more were rescued by a nearby Chinese vessel.
The statement did not directly address the question of whether the boat was fishing illegally or tried to ram the Argentine navy vessel.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Embassy to Argentina have lodged urgent representations with Argentina, expressing serious concern, urging Argentina to carry out a full investigation immediately and to inform China of the details, to protect the safety and lawful rights of Chinese sailors, and to take effective measures to avoid similar incidents,” the statement said.