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Vietnam says fishing boat rammed and sunk by Chinese ship

HANOI, Vietnam — A Vietnamese government official says a Vietnamese fishing boat in the South China Sea’s contested Paracel Islands capsized after being rammed by a Chinese vessel.

The official with Vietnam’s National Committee for Search and Rescue says the boat was fishing near Discovery Reef when the incident occurred Wednesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press.

An online report by the newspaper Tuoi Tre said the five crewmen aboard the Vietnamese boat clung to the bow of their upturned vessel for two hours until they were rescued by another Vietnamese fishing boat.

Discovery Reef is 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) from Vietnam’s central city of Danang. China seized the Paracel Islands in 1974, but Vietnam maintains its claim.

Hau Dinh, The Associated Press