We have multiple reports (here) (and here) that an Argentine Coast Guard vessel, PNA Doctor Manuel Mantilla, fired several shots into Chinese fishing vessel Hua Xiang 801
This is not the first time a Chinese fishing vessel refused to stop, attempted to ram an Argentine Coast Guard vessel, and was fired into. It happened in Mar. 2016 when the Chinese vessel was sunk. It happened again in Feb. 2018.
The Chinese vessel was reportedly not using an Automatic Identification System (AIS). The vessel refused to stop when directed to do so. Ignored warning shots across the bow, followed by shots in the forward part of the ship. At one point it appeared they attempted to ram the Argentinian vessel.
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.
The Chinese claim that this was a result of Argentina not providing details of the coordinates for the limits of its EEZ. The fishing vessel was reportedly less than a mile inside the Argentine EEZ, but this sounds to me like an attempt to shift the burden of responsibility to Argentina.
The Chinese have repeatedly shown a refusal to submit to boarding and seizure (and here).
The Argentines clearly wanted to avoid killing anyone. They warned the Chinese vessel in Spanish, English, and what I presume to be Mandarin, that they would be firing into the vessel and where they intended to hit it. Shots were aimed at the bow and above the waterline.
Why couldn’t the stop this fishing vessel?:
Whatever you may think of the Argentine decision, they attempted to stop a fishing vessel and they failed. The cutter which is similar in size to a 210, is reportedly armed with a 40mm/70 mount like the one illustrated below, and a pair of .50 caliber machine guns.
On a video of a ship of this class I observed that their 40mm had been replaced by a Nexter 20mm gun like the one below.
If they really needed to stop this fishing vessel they needed to hit it in the engineroom. They might have attempted this after warning the fishing vessel of their intention. Both weapons are probably accurate enough to ensure rounds go where intended if fired in a single shot mode.
Also don’t see why they would not fire at the waterline. Would have probably limited their ability to escape. The new 30 mm swimmer round might have helped in this regard if they had been so equipped.
I think the Argentinians seriously needs to take some lessons from the USCG on how to do a proper disabling fire and even learn how to do VBSS. If the Chinese ever tried that in US Waters, they know how the USCG would react.
A related post. http://cimsec.org/asian-fishing-fleets-commit-yet-another-illegal-fishing-incident-in-argentine-waters/39817