Argentine coast guard fires at a Chinese fishing vessel

A ship belonging to the Argentine coast guard shot at a Chinese fishing vessel it claims was fishing illegally within the country’s exclusive economic zone.

On 2 March, the coast guard cutter, Mantilla, fired warning shots at the Hua Xiang 801, a 72-meter Chinese-flagged trawler, which Argentina claimed did not have its Automatic Identification System (AIS) turned on while fishing for squid around one kilometer inside Argentina’s territorial waters. The vessel ceased fishing when it was confronted, then made a run for international waters after turning off its running lights. After being followed by the Mantilla, the Chinese jigger then made aggressive maneuvers in the direction of the Argentina vessel, prompting it to fire warning shots.

Chinese media reports reported the problem resulted from the fact that Chinese fishing companies have not been provided Argentina’s boundary coordinates, and thus rely on internationally used nautical charts which may have discrepancies from Argentina’s territorial claims.

Media in Argentina have not been able to identify who owns the Hua Xiang 801 and, China’s Fisheries Management Bureau at the Agricultural Ministry, which licenses China’s distant-water fleet, hasn’t divulged the ownership details of the Hua Xiang 801.