JCG has brush with Chinese trawler

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A Japan Coast Guard patrol ship had a scrape Tuesday with a Chinese trawler about 12 km north of one of the Senkaku islets in the East China Sea after warning the fishing vessel to leave Japan’s territorial waters, coast guard officials in Tokyo said.

The uninhabited islets, known as Diaoyutai in Taiwan and China, are under Japan’s control but claimed by China and Taiwan. The area has often been the source of diplomatic disputes.

After the patrol vessel and trawler bumped into each other, the Chinese boat tried to flee and was chased by another three Japanese patrol ships that had rushed to the area.

The trawler eventually halted and 22 coast guard personnel boarded it shortly before 1 p.m. for an inspection, the officials said.

According to the coast guard, the patrol ship Yonakuni first made contact while the Chinese trawler was fishing. The impact broke lifeline stanchions on the 1,349-ton Yonakuni, which carries a helicopter, the officials said.

No injuries or oil spills were reported, the coast guard said.

The patrol ships Mizuki and Hateruma caught up with the trawler around 10:55 a.m. The Mizuki suffered damage to its starboard side when it reached the trawler, the officials said.

In June 2008, a coast guard ship and a Taiwanese charter fishing boat collided near the Senkaku Islands, causing the Taiwanese vessel to sink.