China warship collision led to standoff, freighter captain says

The Taiwanese coast guard intervened to end an hour-long standoff between a freighter and an unidentified Chinese warship after the two vessels collided in the contested Taiwan Strait last week.
The Taiwanese-registered bulk carrier Yutai No. 1 collided with a Chinese naval vessel around 20 nautical miles southeast of Taiwan-controlled Kinmen Island late on July 31, Fu Shih-hour, the cargo ship’s captain, told Bloomberg News on Tuesday. Fu said he had called the Taiwanese coast guard for assistance after the captain of the Chinese warship tried to persuade him to divert to the mainland port of Xiamen.
“When they arrived, the coast guard told the Chinese captain very clearly that we were in international waters and that we were under no obligation to follow their orders,” Fu said in a telephone interview from the southern Taiwanese port of Kaohsiung. “It’s not as if we were in Chinese waters and had to listen to them. The other captain wasn’t happy about it, but had to begrudgingly accept it.”
The crash underscored the potential for diplomatic flare-ups in the Taiwan Strait, a busy shipping lane through one of the world’s great geopolitical flash points. As the People’s Liberation Army rapidly expands its navy, both China and the U.S. have increased the frequency of military transits through the strait and around democratically run Taiwan. Samson Ellis & Adela Lin, Bloomberg

Categories China