Chinese fishing boat returns after stalemate with Philippine Navy

Fisherman Cheng Minghai (1st L), Li Liang (2nd L), Deng Yeping (2nd R) and Xu Detan (1st R) pose for photos in front of their fishing boat in Qionghai City, south China's Hainan Province, April 15, 2012. All 12 Chinese fishing vessels, which had sought refuge from bad weather at a lagoon off the Huangyan Island but were blocked the entrance of the lagoon by a warship of the Philippines on April 8, left the lagoon in Huangyan Island on Saturday after a five-day stalemate. One fishing boat has safely returned to Qionghai of south China's Hainan Province. (Xinhua/Guo Cheng)

One of the 12 Chinese fishing boats has returned to port, nearly a week after they were harassed by the Philippine Navy in the Huangyan Island in the South China Sea.

The Qiong-Qionghai 09099, a Hainan-registered fishing boat, returned to the Tanmen Port in Qionghai City in the island province of Hainan Saturday evening and was currently unloading the catch, its crew said.

Twelve Chinese fishing boats moved into the lagoon in China’s Huangyan Island to take refuge from harsh weather on April 8 but were seized and harassed by a Philippine Naval gunboat on April 10. Two Chinese Marine Surveillance ships, which were doing routine patrol in the area, were immediately sent to the site to protect the fishermen.

“The Huangyan Island is the traditional fishing site for residents in Tanmen, and we have fished there since ancient times,” said He Shixuan, owner of Qiong-Qionghai 09099.

Liu Weimin, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, earlier reiterated that Huangyan Island is an integral part of Chinese territory and China has indisputable sovereignty over the island.

All the 12 fishing boats have left the lagoon in the Huangyan Island, and some are continuing their fishing in the South China Sea, according to the local fishermen association in Tanmen.

Xinhua