Indonesia’s navy shot and wounded four Vietnamese fishers aboard a fishing boat in the South China Sea over the weekend, Vietnamese authorities said.
The Vietnamese boat was about 132 nautical miles (245 kilometers) southeast of Vietnam’s Con Dao island when the fishermen were shot Saturday night, the Binh Dinh provincial search-and-rescue committee said on its website.
The coordinates given by the Vietnamese indicated that the shooting happened close to the area Indonesia now calls the North Natuna Sea.
The Vietnamese authorities said two of the fishermen had been seriously wounded and they were taken to Con Dao island for treatment.
Sahono Budianto, an official at Indonesia’s ministry of marine affairs and fisheries, said he was not aware of the alleged shooting.
But in a statement released Monday evening, Sipasulta said reports of Vietnamese being shot were untrue. He said the two fishing vessels immediately left Indonesian waters after the KRI Wiratno-379 fired its warning shot.
Last May, Indonesia, and Vietnam agreed they would launch a joint investigation after reports that the Vietnamese coast guard had tried to forcibly free five fishing boats and their crew detained in waters near Indonesia’s Natuna Islands.
Indonesia has already sunk hundreds of foreign vessels caught illegally fishing in its waters since President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo launched a battle against the poaching of fish in 2014.
Disputes over fishing rights and oil drilling have added tension in the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in goods is shipped each year.