Argentine Coast Guard Sinks Chinese Fishing Vessel

This Video does not appear to show the sinking of the fishing vessel. Speckles on the hull of the F/V seen at time 0:20 and 0:50 may be bullet holes. The video does appear to show the participants.  

We have reports (here and here) that the Argentine Coast Guard (Prefectura Naval Argentina (PNA)) fired on and sank a Chinese fishing vessel (F/V), the Lu Yan Yuan Yu 010, believed to have been fishing illegally, after the F/V failed to stop after shots were fired across its bow and it allegedly attempted to ram the Coast Guard vessel. The crew reportedly was rescued, without fatalities, four by the Argentine vessel and the rest of the crew by another Chinese F/V.

ArgentineCutter

Photo by Diegoventu: PNA Doctor Manuel Mantilla (GC-24), a sistership of the Argentine vessel involved.

The PNA vessel seen in the video, Prefecto Durbes (GC-28) is one of five offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) built in Spain for Argentina. The Mexican Navy also has six similar vessels with larger flight decks and more powerful engines. In size they slot between the Reliance Class and the Bear Class, being 67 meters (220 feet) overall. Unlike the Reliance class, they have a hangar for their version of the H-65.

In addition to machine guns, these ships are reportedly armed with a Bofors 40mm/70, but looking at the video, the location where the gun was mounted (on the platform forward of the bridge and one deck above the foc’sle) is vacant. This suggest that the damage was probably done by .50 cal. machine guns. We know from our Vietnam experience that .50 cal. can sink fishing vessels, but the ranges are very short. Looking at the video the ships appeared to be no more than 300 yards apart.

It is a bit surprising no casualties were reported, although the reports say no fatalities, they do not say no injuries so that is still a possibility. Did the crew of the OPV order the Chinese crew to abandon before sinking the F/V, or did they perhaps tell them where they were not going to shoot so that the crew could assemble safely? It does not sound like it. We have only this statement from an Argentine representative that after actions by the Chinese vessel,  “…the order was given to fire on different sections of the vessel, damaging it,” It is unlikely, but not impossible, the crew helped the ship sink to destroy any evidence of wrong doing.

8 thoughts on “Argentine Coast Guard Sinks Chinese Fishing Vessel

  1. The deck gear almost appears to be for longline fishing which seems to be a curious choice for fishing halfway across the world. Is that he case or am I just confused?

    Also the video seems to be from a fixed wing MPA rather than an embarked helo.

    • The video does appear to have been done by a fixed wing. The Argentine CG flies CASA 212s, similar to the C-144s. I suspect it was one of those.

      It has been a long time, but it would not be surprising to see long line fishing. The gear looks more extensive than I remember for long lining. It might have been drift netting.

      Would be happy to hear from anyone else who is a bit more current than I.

    • Lest we think .50 caliber are adequate lets remember,

      –This was a small ship
      –Sinking the F/V was not time critical. It continued to sail for some time after the shooting started. How long would be interesting to find out.
      –If the video was in fact after the shooting started, the engine(s) were not disabled
      –Water tight integrity on a Chinese fish pirate may not have been very good.
      –No attempts were made to protect sensitive parts of the ship as a terrorist crew might have done, with something as simple as sandbags.
      –No one was shooting back. The OPV was allowed to choose the range and fire deliberately.
      –The range was short.
      –The crew of the F/V were not fanatical. Motivated only by profit and a desire to evade prosecution, meant they abandoned ship as soon as it became obvious they could not get away.

      If the ship had been larger, if it had been armed, if the crew were more fanatical and a target were at hand, a .50 might not have been sufficient. We only have to look at what happened here. https://chuckhillscgblog.net/2012/04/06/what-does-it-take-to-sink-a-ship-illustrated/

  2. Interesting that the cnn story mentioned there were other Chinese fishing vessels nearby, this brings the questions, how many and how long have Chinese vessels been fishing there. It’s over 10K nautical to the east coast of Argentina from China, depending on route.

  3. Pingback: “Latin American Navies Combat Illegal Fishing”–CIMSEC | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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