Argentine Coast Guard opens fire at Chinese vessel in San Jorge Gulf

The 67-meter-long Argentine Coast Guard vessel Mantilla fired several shots at Chinese fishing vessel Hua Xiang 801 which was caught fishing illegally in Argentine’s exclusive economic zone on March 1. 

As informed by the coast guard, the fire was opened after the fishing vessel failed to respond to attempts to establish radio contact and performed aggressive maneuvers as it tried to escape into international waters.

At one moment, the fishing vessel even tried to ram the Mantilla, according to the coast guard, putting the crew’s life at risk. Several shots were fired at the fishing vessel’s bow and above the waterline but it managed to escape its pursuers.

This is not the first time Argentine authorities were forced to fire at Chinese fishing vessels fishing illegally in Argentine waters with the latest such incident taking place in February 2018. In an incident from March 2017, the coast guard even sank a fishing boat in Puerto Madryn.

The coast guard said it would seek to prosecute the escaped Hua Xiang 801 through international bodies. The service noted that the shipowner of Jing Yuan 626, which escaped in February last year, was ordered to pay 7 million pesos (approx. USD 169,300) and the money collected by the Argentine state.

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