The oil tanker Sunrise 689, with 18 sailors on board, which was hijacked and then set free by pirates, will arrive in the coastal southern city of Vung Tau this evening, the Vietnam Coast Guard (VCG) said Thursday.
>> Captain of hijacked Vietnam oil tanker recalls horror of attack>> Missing Vietnamese tanker hijacked and released by pirates>> Vietnam seeking outside help in search for missing ship >> Search underway for missing tanker with 18 Vietnamese sailors The ship, which was attacked by pirates while transporting over 5,200 tons of oil from Singapore to Vietnam on October 2, is expected to arrive in Vung Tau by 10 pm Friday, Major General Nguyen Quang Dam, Commander of the VCG, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper yesterday evening. In an effort to investigate and track down the pirates, who stole one-third of the oil from the ship and injured two crew members, Dam said the coast guard will ask the crew for necessary information related to the hijackers. Based on this information, the VCG will coordinate with its counterparts in the region to hunt down the pirates.
The official also said that relevant Vietnamese agencies have warned vessels of the piracy risk off Somalia and in the Strait of Malacca for years.
Ships sailing in these areas should be highly vigilant to detect pirates in time and take safety measures, especially when it comes to communications in emergency cases.
Tanker Sunrise's captain Nguyen Quyet Thang is seen in this file photo (the photo is provided by the captain's wife)
Colonel Le Van Minh, head of the Command of Vietnam Coast Guard of Zone 4, said that the tanker will be escorted by two coast guard ships to Vung Tau, instead of Phu Quoc Island, as previously planned. The change was made at the request of the ship’s owner, the Hai Phong Fishery Shipbuilding Joint Stock Company, which said Vung Tau has better repair facilities than Phu Quoc. At 2:00 pm on October 9, coast guard vessel CSB 2004, which had departed from the southernmost Vietnamese province of Ca Mau, met the tanker and health workers gave first aid to the two sailors who were injured during the attack. While sailing to Vung Tau, Nguyen Quyet Thang, the ship’s captain, told Tuoi Tre via phone that the Sunrise 689 had been approached by a high-speed boat and two fishing boats a couple of hours after departing from the Horizon port in Singapore on October 2. The hijackers were armed with guns and knives. Some of them took control of the crew, while some others destroyed the vessel’s communication system, Thang said.
Relatives of the sailors on board the hijacked ship are waiting for meeting them again (Photo: Tuoi Tre)
The pirates assaulted several sailors, and machinist Luong Dai Thanh suffered a broken toe and badly injured left kneecap, while crewman Tran Van Lich was left with an ankle injury, the captain said. The pirates stole one-third of the vessel’s oil and then freed the ship around 2 am on October 9 near Thai waters, Thang said. The Vietnam National Committee for Search and Rescue previously reported that contact with the Sunrise-689 was lost at 4:27 am on October 3, when it was about 120 nautical miles northeast of Singapore and 360 km southeast Ca Mau. Tran Thi Bich, the wife of the ship’s captain, said that Thang was held by pirates in the Caribbean Sea for eight months three years ago. The hijacking of the Sunrise 689 occurred four months after Thang began working for the Hai Phong Fishery Shipbuilding Joint Stock Company, Bich said.