A Chinese flagged jigger, “Hua Xiang 801” has fled from the Argentine Coast Guard, ignoring calls to stop engines, and intimidating shots, after it was discovered red-handed operating in Argentine waters early Sunday dawn.
According to a release from the Coast Guard the Chinese jigger was detected illegally operating in mile 199 of Argentina's EEZ, and was ordered to stop engines and prepare for boarding by the patrol vessel, GC-24 Mantilla.
However the jigger which was not operating its satellite Automatic Identification System, AIS, ignored repeatedly radio warnings and before escaping with all lights off tried on several occasions to ram the Argentine patrol, as clearly evident in a video released by Argentine authorities.
Under these circumstances, and following protocol, Mantilla opened fire several times, first ahead of the bow and later above the water line, and chased Hua Xiang 802 for three hours in international waters.
Argentine authorities said they have requested the international capture of the vessel, and are confident of the outcome. They recalled that in a similar incident in 2018, a fleeing Chinese jigger Jing Yuan 626 was finally arrested in Indonesia and was forced to pay the fine for illegal fishing in Argentina's EEZ, plus persecution costs.
In this case circumstances are worse since the fleeing jigger not only ignored m maritime instructions but also tried to ram the patrol vessel endangering the lives of Coast Guard personnel.
The release also points out that the whole operation was personally supervised by Argentina's Security minister Patricia Bullrich and the head of the Coast Guard, Eduardo Scarzello.