Search goes on for 9 crewmen off southern Vietnam

Authorities in Vietnam are searching for nine missing crew members of a ship that sunk off the southern province of Ba Ria- Vung Tau on Monday.

Captain Nguyen Viet Thang (C) is escorted to an ambulance after being brought ashore on March 28, 2017.

Authorities in Vietnam are searching for nine missing crew members of a ship that sunk off the southern province of Ba Ria- Vung Tau on Monday.

The vessel Hai Thanh 26, which carried 11 crew members whilst transporting clinker from the northern city of Hai Phong to the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, capsized after it was hit by another ship off Vung Tau City, Ba Ria- Vung Tau at around 11:55 pm.

The Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre (VN MRCC) received a distress signal from the ship’s EPIRB (Emergency position indicating radiobeacon) at around 4:35 am on Tuesday, before requesting vessel Petrolimex 14 which was operating nearby to come for help.

The Vung Tau MRCC also dispatched two search and rescue boats to the area.

The Petrolimex 14 found a lifeboat carrying Nguyen Viet Thang, captain of the Hai Thanh 26, and Hoang Tien Khoi, one of the crewmen, who was injured during the accident.

Additional ships from the local coast guard and border guard stations, as well as the Peoples’ Navy, have been sent to the area to search for the remaining nine crew members.

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The two found crew members receive first aid treatment. Photo: VN MRCC

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has encouraged urgency in both the search and investigation into what caused the accident.

During an interview with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, Captain Thang recalled resting in his cabin prior to the accident.

“The ship was hit by another vessel and submerged after about three minutes. I could not send out a distress signal and only managed to grab a lifebuoy,” Thang said.

Initial information from the Vietnam National Search and Rescue Committee on Tuesday stated that the Petrolimex 14 had rammed into an unidentified ship while operating off Vung Tau around midnight on Monday.

Nguyen Hoang, deputy head of the Vietnam Maritime Administration, said that they are working with the relevant agencies to find the missing crewmen.

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