Six Vietnamese sailors whose boat was sunk on Tuesday following an offshore collision with a Hong Kong cargo ship are safe and being taken to mainland China to await pick-up by Vietnam’s authorities, the country’s maritime rescue center said on Saturday.
The Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) confirmed the six aboard boat BD 96660, which was hit and submerged by Hong Kong cargo ship Rich Better in the East Vietnam Sea, had been rescued by the Hong Kong vessel and were on the way to Shanghai.
According to the Vietnam MRCC, Rich Better collided with the Vietnamese boat at coordinates 12.17oN 110.38oE, 85 nautical miles east off Nha Trang City in south-central Vietnam, at around 9:00 pm on Tuesday while the former was on its way to Shanghai.
Following the collision, the local vessel capsized and sank, throwing into the water its six crew members, who had sailed off from the south-central Vietnamese province of Binh Dinh.
The six seafarers are Captain Phan Thanh Hai (born in 1973) and crew members Phan Thanh Bach (1989), Dinh Van Nhan (1963), Le Thanh Tu (1984), Tran Van Long (1995), and Le Thanh Bo (1993).
They were immediately rescued by the cargo ship without any reported injuries.
According to Phan Van Tao, father of the boat’s captain, the ship had embarked on its journey from the Vietnamese shore ten days earlier to fish for squid before the accident.
Vietnam MRCC General Director Nguyen Anh Vu told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Saturday that the center had received updates on the incident and taken measures to guarantee the safety and legal rights of the Vietnamese sailors.
Vu added all six were healthy and taken good care of by the Hong Kong vessel’s crew members, and their families had also been kept posted on that.
“Contact with the Vietnamese is being maintained,” Vu affirmed.
In response to why the Vietnamese sailors had been taken to Shanghai instead of the nearest seaport from the collision coordinates, Vu said only in emergency cases where their lives are at stake is it required that the victims be taken to the nearest port.
Rich Better and the Vietnamese sailors had also agreed upon the compensation for this collision, the Hong Kong vessel crew told the Vietnam MRCC.
Vu added that the Vietnam MRCC had contacted an insurance agency, the owner of the Vietnamese boat, and relevant diplomatic bodies to make sure that the seafarers’ rights to compensation, safety, and health are guaranteed.
“The Vietnam MRCC has taken many legally founded measures and will guarantee absolute safety for the six Vietnamese once they arrive at the Chinese port,” the general director said.