Argentine navy sinks Chinese fishing boat

China | 17 Mar 2016

Argentina's navy said it used gunfire to sink a Chinese-flagged boat that was fishing illegally in national waters.

Beijing said it has expressed its serious concern to Argentina and called for an investigation

The navy said the boat was intercepted on Monday off the coast of Puerto Madryn, 1,460 kilometers south of Buenos Aires.

The boat did not heed warning calls and instead tried to ram an Argentine naval vessel.

Sailors then shot holes in the fishing boat, sinking it.

Four people on board were rescued and arrested.

They remained in custody and were to go before a federal judge in southern Chubut province.

The navy said it had been 15 years since one of its ships last sank a foreign vessel fishing illegally in Argentine waters.

In Beijing, Lu Kang, a spokesman for the foreign ministry, posted a statement on the internet saying the boat had been fishing in Argentine waters and was chased for several hours before naval fire holed the vessel.

Four Chinese were picked up by the Argentines and 28 more were rescued by a nearby Chinese vessels.

The statement did not directly address the question of whether the boat was fishing illegally or tried to ram the navy vessel.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese embassy in Argentina have lodged urgent representations with Argentina, expressing serious concern about the incident," the statement said yesterday.

It urged Buenos Aires 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.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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