Authorities at the southern port of Vung Tau have seized a Malaysian tugboat and barge after the barge hit a Vietnamese fishing boat, leaving a sailor missing, and sailed on.
The hit-and-run vessels, the tugboat Newton 3 and barge Newton 5, were seized off Vung Tau at 10 pm on October 11 by Vietnamese border guard ships with the help of local vessels, the National Committee for Search and Rescue (NCSR) reported.
The foreign vessels were then escorted to the Vung Tau port for investigation.
At 8:30 pm on October 11, the fishing ship QNg 94301TS, from the central province of Quang Ngai, with 12 fishermen on board, was operating 17 nautical miles south-southwest of Vung Tau when the barge, which was being towed by the tugboat, rammed into it.
The collision damaged the fishing boat, causing water to enter the boat.
During the collision, one of the 12 crewmembers went missing.
Of the remaining 11 fishermen, seven boarded the barge to ask the Malaysian crew to handle the incident, while the other four began repairing their boat.
However, the tugboat continued to tow the barge and left the scene, bringing the seven Vietnamese sailors along.
After the case was reported, the NCSR asked the Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Center in Zone 3 to issue a marine notice about the incident.
The NCSR also asked the center and the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province Steering Board for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control and Search and Rescue to mobilize vessels to search for the missing sailor and pursue the Malaysian vessels.
The steering board then sent 12 vessels, including six fishing boats from Quang Ngai, four from Ba Ria-Vung Tau, and two marine service boats from the Vung Tau Port Authority to search for the fisherman.
At the same time, the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Border Guard sent ship BP 13.98.01, in conjunction with fishing boat QNg 94184, after the Malaysian vessels
At 10 pm that evening, the local ships seized the foreign vessels, recovered the seven Vietnamese fishermen, and escorted the ships to the Vung Tau Port.
Meanwhile, the damaged fishing boat was towed ashore safely at 1 am on Sunday.
The search for the missing fisherman is ongoing.