​One dead, 5 missing as coal freighter overturned by storm Talas in central Vietnam

A coal freighter docked at a beach in north-central Nghe An Province was overturned by storm Talas on Sunday evening, leaving one dead and five still missing

Cargo ship VTB 26 is washed aground near Cua Lo Beach in Nghe An Province.

Vietnamese cargo ship VTB 26 was docked at Hon Ngu beach in Nghe An’s Cua Lo District on Sunday evening to take shelter from storm Talas when it slipped its mooring and was overturned.

Tropical storm Talas, which had grown from a tropical depression in the East Vietnam Sea, hit the north-central region of Vietnam on Sunday evening, bringing about heavy rain and strong winds across the provinces of Nghe An and Thanh Hoa.

There were reportedly 13 people aboard the VTB 26 at the time of accident, including 12 crewmen and one employee of the coal company that had boarded the ship to escort the shipment.

As of 11:30 am on Monday, response teams had been able to rescue seven people and found one dead body suspected to be one of the crew members, while five others remain missing.

Dinh Viet Hong, deputy chairman of Nghe An, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Monday that the province had put together a command headed by the provincial Border Guards to carry out a search and rescue mission for the missing people.

According to Truong Duc Nghia, chief of office of the National Committee for Search and Rescue, the cargo ship VTB 26 had been transporting over 4,700 metric tons of coal from northern Quang Ninh Province to Cua Lo District before taking shelter from the storm.

Though distress signals were sent out by two other ships that spotted the VTB 26 slipping its mooring on Sunday evening, no rescue mission was immediately possible due to the fierce storm, said Vuong Binh Minh, director of the Port Authority of Nghe An.

On Monday morning, locals living near Cua Lo beach spotted the vessel washed aground about 500 meters from the shore, according to Vo Van Hung, deputy chairman of Cua Lo.

Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has demanded that effort be put into looking for the missing crew as well as into salvaging the distressed ship.

A crew member of cargo ship VTB 26 is rescued by the response team. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The location where cargo ship VTB 26 is believed to have been oveturned. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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