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Chinese Fishing Boat Collides with Two Japanese Patrol Boats

The Canadian Press reports that a Chinese fishing boat collided with two Japanese patrol vessels in the East China Sea near a chain of disputed islands claimed by both countries.

The two collisions took place just 40 minutes apart, after the Japanese patrol vessels repeatedly ordered the Chinese fishing boat to exit the area. The Chinese fishing vessel ignored the warnings to exit the area and the Japanese patrol vessel ordered the fishing boat to stop for an on site inspection over alleged violation of fishing laws.

The Japanese Coast Guard reported no injuries and that the two Japanese patrol vessels sustained minor damage. It is unknown whether the Chinese fishing vessel sustained any damage.

The Japanese Coast Guard also reported that it chased the Chinese Fishing Vessel for several hours before it stopped upon which more than 20 Japanese officials boarded the vessel. Japanese authorities are taking the captain of the fishing vessel to the nearest police department for questioning.

The uninhabited, disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. About 120 miles east of Taiwan, the islands are controlled by Japan but are also claimed by China and Taiwan.

Japanese Coast Guard officials report that the Chinese fishing vessel, carrying a crew of 15, first collided with the Japanese patrol boat Yonakuni, Tuesday mid-morning, slightly damaging its stern. About 40 minutes later, the Chinese fishing boat made a sudden turn and collided into another patrol vessel, the Mizuki, causing a dent on its starboard side and damaging its railings.

According to a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Beijing has lodged a formal protest against Japan over the incident and has warned Japanese patrol boats in the area against law enforcement that puts Chinese boats and people at risk.

Photo courtesy of AP