The Taiwan Coast Guard Administration has confirmed that its newest vessel was damaged in an encounter with Chinese fishing boats early last week.
The newbuild rigid inflatable boat (RIB) CP-1022 was delivered to the coast guard detachment at Kinmen County on March 14. Two days later, it was sent out on its first patrol along with two other vessels after reports came in that a dozen Chinese fishing boats were spotted off the coastal town of Little Kinmen.
The coast guard crews were in the process of removing nets that had been illegally placed in the area when the Chinese boats turned toward them, approaching at high speed.
Chen Chien-wen, the senior coast guard official for Kinmen County, said that the Chinese fishermen threw rocks and empty alcohol bottles at the coast guard personnel while approaching the Taiwanese vessels.
The fishermen then took turns deliberately ramming their boats against CP-1022.
The Chinese boats fled the area after the coast guard personnel fired non-lethal stun grenades and bean bag rounds to discourage the fishermen from continuing their attack.
Mr Chen said that the RIB sustained damage to its rear quarter and two of its three outboard engines though none of the personnel on board were injured.
The coast guard has since submitted a formal request for the Chinese government to conduct its own investigation into the incident and to demand financial compensation from the fishermen who were involved.
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