Collision with Chinese fishing boat and Japanese patrol boat near Senkaku Islands
(10 September 2010)
It was reported by the Japanese Coast Guard that at approximately 10.15am on September 7, a collision occurred between a Chinese fishing boat and a Japanese patrol boat, the Yonakuni, in waters surrounding the disputed Senkaku islands located in the East China Sea between Okinawa and Taiwan. Although currently controlled by Japan as part of its Okinawa prefecture, both China and Taiwan claim sovereignty over the islands, known as Diaoyu in China and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan. It is believed the Chinese boat was fishing in an area claimed by Japan to be its territorial waters and had been ordered to cease operating.
After ramming the Yonakuni, the fishing vessel collided with another patrol boat, the Mizuki, 40 minutes after the initial incident. It was then was pursued by three Japanese patrol boats and boarded by six Japanese investigators several hours later. No casualties were reported.
The captain of the Chinese vessel, Zhan Qixiong, has been detained by Japanese authorities, resulting in a diplomatic row between the two countries. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has requested his immediate release and an end to the interception of Chinese vessels, arguing that the practice is illegal. Although this current incident is unlikely to undermine overall relations between China and Japan, it is yet another part of an on-going series of incidents in the highly contentious waters around the disputed islands.
Source: ‘Japan patrol boat, China fishing boat collide near disputed islands’, BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific, 7 September 2010; ‘Japan-China boat spat escalates’, BBC News Asia Pacific, 9 September 2010