Argentina’s coastguard 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 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 coastguard, putting not only its own crew at risk, but also the personnel of the coast guard,” the statement said.
That’s why the coastguard opened fire, Argentine officials said.
The vessel sank, and four people on board – three crew members and the captain – were rescued by Argentina’s coastguard. Other crew members who’d been on the Chinese vessel boarded another fishing boat that had been travelling nearby, the coast guard said.
Argentina’s foreign ministry and the Chinese consulate have been notified, the coastguard said.
Chinese officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Video posted on YouTube by the coastguard shows the Chinese boat listing to one side during the operation.
The incident began Monday near Puerto Madryn, Argentina, the coastguard said, within the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone off the country’s coast.