On the frontline in the South China Sea: A diary by South-East Asia correspondent Samantha Hawley


South-East Asia correspondent Samantha Hawley spent nearly a week travelling to a giant Chinese oil rig deployed between the Vietnamese coast and the Paracel Islands in the disputed South China Sea.

Travelling onboard Vietnamese coastguard ships, Hawley came within eight nautical miles of the Chinese rig, operated by China Oilfield Services Limited, which is located about 30 kilometres south of the Paracel Islands.

With a first-hand view of tensions between the two countries playing out on the high seas, the journey was certainly no cruise.

Read her account of the trip.

Day One

When I arrive in the Vietnamese Port City of De Nang, I’m greeted by a state-appointed minder. Mr Quang has organised my hard-to-get foreign press visa and he will assist me with all the work I do on the ground in Vietnam. But not at sea. He remains behind when I board the Vietnamese coastguard ship CSB 2016. I’m one of just a handful of foreign journalists the normally media-restrictive Vietnam has chosen to take out to the South China Sea.

We will see first-hand a $1 billion Chinese oil rig, placed near the contested Paracel Islands at the beginning of May.


Read more: https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/24273476/on-the-frontline-in-the-south-china-sea-a-diary-by-south-east-asia-correspondent-samantha-hawley/