Russian captain condemns cable destruction
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Updated : Thu, June 2, 2011,1:22 PM (GMT+0700)
Alexander Belov, the Russian captain of Binh Minh 2
Photo: Tuoi Tre
The exploration ship Binh Minh 2, whose cable was cut by a Chinese vessel last week, returned to Nha Trang Port yesterday after completing seismic surveys in Vietnam’s territorial waters.
Alexander Belov, the Russian captain of the ship, spoke to Tuoi Tre about the incident.
Have you ever seen anything like this case in which three Chinese vessels hindered the operations of the Binh Minh 2 and destroyed its equipment while it was operating in Vietnam’s territorial waters?
I have never seen such a case before and I hope [it] will be the last for me. The encounter was an experience for me. Normally, in such cases, marine surveillance ships will seek ways to communicate with us instead of destroying our equipment, which is an illegal action, since we were operating in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone.
What did you do to when the Chinese ships moved in?
I first tried to communicate with them and asked them to keep away from our equipment. I then heard them say that we had to leave the area since we had violated China’s sovereignty. We replied to them that the issue should be let to competent officials to resolve, but they continued to run after us. Finally, one of the three Chinese vessels cut our cables. We continued our voyage and called the company’s office for instructions on what we should do to recover the lost equipment to mitigate the damage.
As a person who has been at sea for long, what do you think about the seriousness of the incident?
This is a very serious incident, one in which they [the Chinese] were well aware of what they did. They came to destroy our equipment.
You have worked in many countries in the world. Have you ever witnessed such a violation of sovereignty?
Never. We were operating in Vietnam’s territorial waters when the Chinese ships came. That was very abnormal.
As a citizen of a sovereign country, what is your comment about the incident?
I think it is unacceptable. It is unbelievable to me that such a destruction has occurred. But I have actually witnessed it with my own eyes and I felt loathing for it.
What do you have to say about the Vietnamese side’s behavior?
I think that the case was handled rather well[by the Vietnamese side]. The crew and the ship are safe and there was not too much damage to our equipment.
Will you continue to work in Vietnam?