Argentina's coast guard has sunk a Chinese trawler that was fishing illegally within its territorial waters, the coast guard said on Tuesday, marking a first test for relations between recently elected President Mauricio Macri and Beijing.
The Chinese vessel was found in a restricted area and attempted a collision maneuver, according to authorities. The coast guard, or Prefectura Naval Argentina, is headed by army generals and is part of the Argentinian Defence Ministry.
The sinking comes as China expands its long-distance fishing fleet to meet surging demand for seafood, with Beijing's foreign ministry expressing "serious concern" over the incident.
The coast guard said the Lu Yan Yuan Yu 010 was fishing without permission off Puerto Madryn, 1,300 kilometres(800 miles) south of Buenos Aires on Tuesday, inside Argentina
's exclusive economic zone.
The ship refused requests in Spanish and English to be boarded, turning off its lights and attempting to flee towards international waters, the statement added.
Four crew members aboard the sinking ship — including the captain — were rescued by the Argentinian coast guard while the rest of the 28-member crew was picked up by nearby Chinese fishing vessels, officials said.
A video posted on the coast guard's website showed a large Chinese boat listing in the open sea while apparently under pursuit.
A spokesman for Argentina's foreign ministry said the judiciary was investigating the incident. Officials at the Chinese Embassy in the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires, were not available for comment.