Recently, a fishing boat from Zhoushan, Zhejiang, was deliberately rammed and sunk by a rival fishing boat from Fenghua, Ningbo due to overlapping sea operations and a long-lasting territorial feud.
The incident occurred in the Yellow Sea, near South Korea — an area extremely profitable due to its abundance of fish.
Zhejiang Zhoushan fishing boat captain Lin Yijun recalled the events that transpired. On October 22nd at 5am, he and 17 crew members were sleeping soundly in their cabin when they were awoken suddenly by a violent impact.
The attacking boat struck a total of four times on and around the crew cabin, each time after accelerating to full power. As water began pouring in, the 18 crew members ran for cover near the back of the ship, and offered money and fishing gear to their attackers in a frantic bid for mercy. However, their counterparts paid no notice to their pleas.
While ramming the boat in an attempt to capsize it, the Fenghua boat also threw Molotov Cocktails to ward off anyone who might’ve had any intention to intervene and rescue the besieged sailors.
In the vicinity, 20-30 Fenghua boats watched the ordeal, forming a ring of steel around the two sparring boats. As the Zhoushan boat sank into the water, the Fenghua boats slowly began to disperse, allowing fellow Zhoushan vessels to venture cautiously forward to rescue their comrades.
Luckily, Lin Yijun and his crew were mostly unharmed, but were obviously in a state of shock over what had just happened. Later, one minor injury was reported.
The area that the two warring groups operate in is highly profitable, and though there is an unofficial rule of “first come first serve” when it comes to fishing rights, the amount of money involved has lead to escalated tensions and boiling blood.
Lin Yijun said that he was approached earlier in the year by Fenghua sailors and asked to pay “protection money” at market price. Market price is around 10,000RMB for a small boat, and 40,000RMB for a large boat, meaning Li Yijun would have to pay around 500,000RMB per year for his “protection.” Sailors who could not afford the price are forced to live in fear of reprisal, which, as evidenced by this story, is more than empty words.
At present, Zhejiang Province Border Defense Corps is handling the case.