BEIJING, March 17 (ChinaMil) -- In the incident of Argentina coastguard’s recent sinking of a Chinese fishing vessel Lu Yan Yuan Yu 010, there might be issues of excessive law enforcement and excessive use of force by the Argentina coastguard, according to Liu Dan, Associate Researcher of the Center for Polar and Deep Ocean Development of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
Liu told the Global Times in an interview that regardless of the location, as a law enforcement force, Argentina's coastguard should aim at chasing and expelling the fishing boat instead of sinking it. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea also has provisions in this regard.
Liu said that actions of the Argentina side indicate that the Argentina coastguard aimed at sinking the vessel and in fact, they did sink it and endangered the lives of the crew.
The Argentina side explained that before using force, they took all sorts of warning behaviors. However, this explanation is worth closer scrutiny.
“After the radio conversation, did they really try all possible means of warning? And even if the fishing vessel still did not respond, Argentine can expel the ship. But sinking it would be completely unnecessary,” Liu continued.
Liu also pointed out that the Argentina coastguard "shot to the hull" of the Chinese fishing ship.
According to internationally accepted codes of practice of law enforcement, shots must not be fired close to the deep-water lines of the hull. Because there might be people in the cabin and shooting in the deep-water lines is likely to cause casualties. Such behavior is absolutely prohibited by coastguards in most countries in the world.
“I suggest that China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs can exercise the right to consular protection and provide fishermen with legal assistance. Meanwhile, we need to stress to the Argentina side that the arrested Chinese crew members should be released provided that they issue appropriate guarantees. The Chinese crew members must not be held for long period of time.This is also written in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” Liu Dan said.
Liu Dan expressed that due to limited offshore fish resources, high-sea fishing has become a major development trend in China. But the question is how to protect the rights of fishermen.
The Chinese fishermen of high-sea fishing have repeatedly suffered threats of safety and property in Vietnam, Russia and Indonesia. There are even cases of excessive use of force and as a result, casualties of the Chinese fishermen were reported.
In the future, China should think about developing insurance services for distant fishing and better educate those involved in this field, which will regulate the behavior of Chinese fishermen as well protect their legal rights.