Vietnam on Sunday deployed three airplanes to assist the search for 16 missing Philippine crew members aboard a Bahamian cargo ship which sank off the coast of southern Vietnam on Friday morning.
Lt. Gen. Pham Hoai Giang, director of the Defense Ministry’s Department for Rescue Search, said these jets joined a fleet of Vietnamese coastguard and navy vessels to scour the vicinity of the area where the ship sent a distress signal.
The Bulk Jupiter with 19 Philippine crew members was 155 nautical miles (287 kilometers) off Vietnam’s Vung Tau Town when it sent the signal at around 7 am on Friday, its owner, Norway-based Gearbulk, said in a statement.
The ship was carrying 46,400 tons of bauxite from Malaysia to China, the company said.
Two commercial ships from Oman and Singapore, which were passing through the area, picked up a surviving sailor and the bodies of two others on Friday afternoon.
The survivor, later identified as chief cook Angelito Capindo Rojas, was taken to the shore along with the bodies of captain Ronel Acueza Andrin and his assistant Dinoy Jerome Maquilang
on Sunday afternoon, Giang said.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday asked Philippine, Bruneian and Malaysian authorities to help with the search and rescue mission.
It is not clear yet what caused the ship to sink.
According to the marine website Vesseltracker.com, based on previous incidents such as the loss of the Vinalines Queen, the TransSummer, and other ships over the past few years, it is likely the ship sank as a result of cargo liquefaction, or a loss of ship’s stability from the internal movement of the cargo.